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CPRE praises bag charge increase

CPRE welcomes the Government consultation, launched today (‪27 December‬), that sets out plans to increase the carrier bag charge ‪from 5p to 10p‬, and for it to be extended to all retailers. This will build on the already successful waste reduction policy, which CPRE played a key role in campaigning for, alongside its Break the Bag Habit partners.

Currently, the 5p charge applies only to big businesses, but it is estimated that more than 3.6 billion single-use plastic bags are supplied annually by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). CPRE states that extending it to these smaller business, along with increasing the charge, will drive the 86% drop in plastic bag usage already seen even higher.

In addition to this extension, the countryside charity also welcomes the Government’s commitment to keep the momentum going and introduce a deposit return system for cans and bottles, putting an end to recycling confusion and boosting stagnant recycling rates.

Samantha Harding, Litter Programme Director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

‘Following such a resounding success, it is great to see the Government using its initiative to take the bag charge one step further. The 15 billion plastic bags saved, since the 5p charge came in, proves the huge impact a small financial incentive can have on encouraging people to do the right thing. Their absence has made a real difference to the health of our countryside and environment.

‘As the government prepares to apply the “polluter pays” principle to other forms of packaging, including by introducing a deposit system for bottles and cans of all sizes and materials, it has a golden opportunity to boost recycling rates to over 90% and deliver vital economic benefits, such as new jobs within the recycling sector. When economic measures are applied to manufacturers and the producers of packaging, they make better choices in terms of product design, they cut down on the amount of hard-to-recycle materials used, and start to invest in proper collection systems to make sure more of these valuable materials are available for re-use or recycling.’

CPRE looks forward to responding to the consultation and will be working closely with its partners and government to reduce waste and support the efficient use of resources in England.

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