In the field of the Tesco supermarket chain, there has been a 72% drop in the use of non-reusable or single-use plastic bags. In addition, 57% of customers choose not to bag the products purchased.
Tesco has used the money raised from the levy to fund community projects as part of the retailers' Bags of Help initiative. The program has invested almost 12 million pounds (about 13.5 million euros) in initiatives previously selected by clients, and promoted by charities and community groups.
"We are encouraging our customers to use fewer single-use bags, so these figures are very encouraging. Additionally, the money raised from our customers by purchasing bags is making a huge difference in local communities across the country. ”Said Tesco UK communication director George Gordon.“ Thanks to Bags of Help, nearly £ 12 million have been invested in local environmental improvement projects such as parks, sports facilities, schoolyards and community gardens, projects that have been chosen by our clients. In the future, we will take even more care of their communities, collecting more projects so they can vote on them every month. "
Since the 5p / unit (0.45 € / unit) single-use plastic bag levy went into effect on October 5, 2015 the number of plastic bags delivered by retailers in England has been reduced from 7 billion to just over 500 million in just six months.
Last week in the UK, the German supermarket chain Lidl pledged to withdraw non-reusable plastic bags from public sale at all its stores in England, Scotland and Wales. It is estimated that this measure could save 63 million units of plastic bags per year, the equivalent of 760 tons of plastic.
In a way, the levy on the shopping bag also represents a CSR success story, where retailers now use the proceeds from the levy to drive social development projects.
Asda, for example, recently announced that it would donate 1 million pounds (about 1.12 million euros) to social enterprises in Scotland. Marks & Spencer is also donating half of the proceeds from the non-reusable bag levy to local charities, and the other half to international charities such as Macmillan (cancer research organization) and the Marine Conservation Society.
Richard Kirkman, Veolia's Technical Director for UK and Ireland, stated that “in just 365 days we have seen a huge drop in bags entering our facilities. In fact, the plastic bags collected by Veolia have been reduced from 170 million to approximately 40 million, since the 5p (0.45 euros) levy entered on October 5 of last year - representing a reduction of 75% . It is a great achievement and, as a nation, we should be very proud. "
Over the next 10 years, the Government expects to collect more than 730 million pounds from the levy, which has already helped reduce the use of non-reusable plastic bag by 80% in the country on average.
Last week, the investigation revealed that the vast majority of the British population now bring their own bags to supermarkets to carry purchased food.