Plastic bag levy
At the end of last year, plans were announced by the Environment Secretary to double the fee charged by shops for plastic carrier bags, to 10p. This plan will extend to all shops, including the small retailers who are currently exempt, but supply an estimated 3.6 billion single-use plastic bags annually.
The introduction of the plastic bag levy in 2015 has seen a dramatic reduction in the use of single use carrier bags, with an estimated 15 billion bags taken out of circulation. The Marine Conservation Society reports a reduction in the amount of plastic bags found on beaches since 2015 as well.
Many supermarkets have used the 5p charge to fund local charitable organisations, with an estimated £51m donated during 2017/18
Earlier this year, Morrisons announced that they are trialling a 20p reusable paper bag, and other supermarkets are also taking measures to reduce the number of single-use bags that customers use (eg for fresh fruit and veg). (See the BBC for more details.)
Watch for more details of increased grant funding available as other retailers organise themselves to receive the plastic bag levy, or those with existing involvement increase their donated amounts.
Waitrose is introducing Plan Plastic – the Million Pound Challenge, which a challenge to cut plastic pollution by tackling plastic littering. They are seeking a small number of projects that can be supported with up to £300,000. The focus areas for the scheme are:
- Plastics in the Community
- Public behaviour change
- Food agriculture and farming
The lead application must be a registered body and be one of the following, although collaborative initiatives are welcomed:
- A charity
- An academic body
- A Community Interest Company
- A Social Enterprise with a clear charitable mission
- A school or college
The fund closes to the first round of applications on 24 February, with shortlisted projects presenting the ideas in London on 16 April for final selection.
You can find out everything you need to know on the Plan Plastic website, along with further information about reducing your plastic impact if you’re not in a position to apply for the grant.