Use of plastic bags set to fall by six billion per year as a result of plastic bag charge

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Six billion fewer plastic bags are likely to have been used in England as a result of the introduction of the plastic bag charge.

Looking at the first six months of data, Defra has said that only half a billion bags were used since the charge was introduced.

Over a year, this is likely to mean only a billion bags are given to shoppers compared to the seven billion bags issued by seven main retailers in 2014.

The charge has also meant £29 million has been donated by retailers to charities and community groups.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Taking six billion plastic bags out of circulation is fantastic news for all of us – it will mean our precious marine life is safer, our communities are cleaner and future generations won’t be saddled with mountains of plastic sat taking hundreds of years to breakdown in landfill sites.

“The 5p charge has clearly been a success – not only for our environment but for good causes across the country that have benefitted from an impressive £29 million raised.

“It shows small actions can make the biggest difference, but we must not be complacent as there is always more we can all do to reduce waste and recycle what we use.”