Government data shows that plastic bag sales have dropped by 90% through the biggest supermarkets’ introduction of the 5p bag charge.
Figures have been released by Ms Villiers’ Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which show that in 2018-19 supermarkets sold 549 million single-use plastic bags, which was down from one billion from the previous years. This data has been collected from stores such as Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op, Marks and Spencers and Waitrose.
Ms Villiers has stated: “Our comprehensive action to slash plastic waste and leave our environment in a better state continues to deliver results, with our 5p charge reducing plastic bag sales by 90 per cent in the big supermarkets.
“No one wants to see the devastating impact plastic waste is having on our precious wildlife. Today’s figures are a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society.”
The amount of plastic in the sea is set to treble in a decade, according to government scientists.
Each year it is estimated that 100,000 animals in the sea are being killed by plastic. This is from eating and getting caught in the plastic waste.
This is not being helped by the fact that 300 million tons of plastic are being produced annually, eight million of which is entering the ocean.
As of 2015, there has been a 5p charge when buying single-use plastic bags as a small step to tackle the battle with pollution. From data collected, there has been a dramatic drop in the use of plastic bags since this introduction.
On average customers are only buying 10 bags a year, an astonishing drop from 2014 in which it was 140 bags.
To drop this amount even further, the government have launched a consultation on raising the minimum charge to 10p to make results happen even faster. However, at this moment in time this only applies to retailers with more than 250 employees, which was set under the October 2015 levy.
In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales the 5p single-use bag charge applies to all retailers.
Shops are expected to put this money to good use, donating it to charitable causes. So far, over £22 million has been donated to good causes from the profits of single-use plastic bags.