As more cities and countries jump on the bandwagon to ban plastic bags, the question remains as to whether or not a ban or even a tax will be effective in changing consumer habits. Now there’s concrete evidence in the British Isles that it’s making a difference.
In 2011, a tax on single use plastic bags went into effect in Wales. Since that time, the number of plastic bags handed out in retail shops has fallen 96 percent! And for those who still insist on using them, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised and donated to charities.
According to a recently published Cardiff University study into the Welsh bag tax, public support for the tax has risen from 59 percent to 70 percent since it was first introduced last October. And opposition to it dropped to just 17 percent. Over the same time period, the number of shoppers who said they used their own bags at the supermarket rose from 61 percent to 82 percent.
Because of these statistics, Scotland and Ireland may soon introduce their own version of this program.
As more countries around the world recognize the blight that plastic bags can cause and the harm they do to the environment, to wildlife and marine life, it’s certain that whether through a tax or outright ban, consumers will need to get used to keeping their cloth bags at hand.