The supermarket giant has reported a 78 per cent decrease in the number of plastic bags sold, just two months after the 5p levy was introduced to all large businesses by the government.
Charge has gone better than expected
The levy was introduced by the government in October this year with the aim of cutting the number of plastic bags taken from shops and improving the environment. In 2014, close to eight billion single-use bags were handed out by the biggest supermarkets in England.
The drop in bag use by Tesco customers in store is almost 10 per cent higher than Tesco predicted before the bag levy was introduced. Tesco is also donating all of the proceeds raised from the levy (less VAT) to charity.
Rebecca Shelley, group communications director for Tesco said:
“We knew the Government’s bag charge would encourage our customers to use fewer plastic bags and it’s clearly had a huge impact,” said the director, who plans for Tesco to be a zero carbon business by 2050
“We wanted to do as much as we could to help our customers avoid paying the charge – the week before the charge was introduced we gave out free bags for life, and we’ve been sharing helpful hints and tips on how customers can cut down the number of bags they use.
“We’re also working with our customers to make sure the millions of pounds that will be raised from the bag charge go towards making a real difference for our local communities.”
“vital step in reducing plastic waste”
Environment minister Rory Stewart is delighted with the figures, as it marks a big step towards cleaning up the environment.
“Cutting the number of plastic bags we use is a small but vital step in reducing plastic waste.
It will not only tidy up our towns and countryside, it will also help protect our precious beaches and sea life.”
As it stands, small businesses are exempt from the plastic bag charge, but with these new statistics, SME groups may be calling for the law to be applied to smaller firms. Check out this infographic which gives seven reasons as to why small firms should charge for plastic bags.