Report calls for plastic bag tax

19 December, 2007

A 10p ‘green’ tax on all plastic and paper shopping bags should be imposed across the UK, says a report from the London Assembly.

A 10p ‘green’ tax on all plastic and paper shopping bags should be imposed across the UK, says a report by the London Assembly.

A national levy on disposable bags would significantly cut the number of bags ending up on landfills, says the report, published this week by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee.

Consumers in the UK plough through 13bn carrier bags every year, with Londoners alone using 1.6bn. Experts estimate they may take up to 400 years to decompose in landfills.

Environment Committee chair Darren Johnson said a national levy imposed by the government would be more effective than separate regional strategies.

The report highlights Ireland as a case study, where it says a tax has cut the number of bags going to landfills by 90 per cent since 2002.

A proposal from London Councils could see retailers in the UK capital banned from distributing ‘single use’ bags from next year.

Retailers remain opposed to the idea of a levy, however.

“Plastic bags have been unfairly demonised,” Richard Dodd, of the British Retail Consortium, told “Plastic bags make up less than a tenth of one per cent of waste going to landfills.”

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