Plastic bag use slashed by nearly 80% at Tesco

The number of single-use bags used by customers at Tesco stores in England has been slashed by 78% in a month since the introduction of the Government’s 5p plastic bag charge, according to figures released by the supermarket chain.

Customers shopping on have also dramatically reduced the number of bags they use, with the number of online shoppers selecting ‘bagless’ deliveries increasing by nearly 50%. 

The bag charge was introduced by the Government in October. The drop in bag use by Tesco customers in store is almost 10% higher than Tesco predicted before the bag levy was introduced.

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.

“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.”

Over the past six weeks, Tesco has been calling out to charities and local community groups to apply for grants from the carrier bag charge to fund projects which will make lasting improvements to green spaces in communities across the UK. The size of the grants available range from £8,000 to £12,000, and Tesco is working with environmental charity Groundwork to administer the scheme.

Environment Minister Rory Stewart said: “I’m really delighted that the 5p plastic bag charge is starting to have a real impact and is raising thousands for good causes. 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.”

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