It seems that keeping single-use plastic bags fully out of the oceans and landfills starts – unsurprisingly – with keeping them out of our stores. Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, is about to stop selling single-use plastic bags, for a fee of five pence (around cents) in the stores in the country. Instead, it will be offering its customers reusable “bags for life” for 10 pence. The single-use bags are going to disappear from the stores on August 28, 2017!
Tesco’s reusable bags, which are to become the only ones offered at the checkouts, are made out of 94 percent recycled plastic and if they get damaged, the story will exchange them without any charge. The new policy was preceded by a 10-week trial carried out in Aberdeen, Dundee, and Norwich, where the move led to a 25 percent cut in bag sales – since customers opted for either bringing their own bags or switching to the new, more expensive ones.
In England, the carrier bag charge was introduced by Tesco in 2015 and it has since resulted in the store handing out 1.5 billion fewer single-use plastic bags, The Guardian reports. Even with this great drop, however, the store still sells more than 700 million bags every year, which is the highest number among major supermarkets. Putting an end to sales of single-use bags will reduce the number of bags sold significantly and also help reduce the amount of litter and trash ending up in landfills.
Moreover, the money raised from the sales of the reusable bags goes towards community projects. “The number of bags being bought by our customers has already reduced dramatically,” said Matt Davies, UK and Irish Republic chief executive at Tesco. “[This] move will help our customers use even fewer bags but ensure that those sold in our stores continue to fund thousands of community projects across the country chosen by customers.”
Considering the substantial difference that the introduction of the plastic bag charge has made for the number of bags sold and, in the end, the amount of trash produced, Tesco’s new move can only bring even more positive results. And since every year, we use as many a 100 billion plastic bags which contribute massively to the plastic waste crisis we are currently facing, the further change is not just very welcome but simply necessary.
Single-use plastic bags might be convenient, but they are so easy to ditch if we have an alternative. Since so many of us already have reusable bags and use them for our groceries, it is only a matter of time before we say goodbye to the old (and not even that trusty) plastic bag … for good!
To learn how to use less plastic in your everyday life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
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