As you should already know, major UK stores have been obliged to impose a 5p fee on every single-use plastic bag provided to customers since 2015.
It’s helped enormously, with the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) indicating that the number of bags provided by the seven main supermarkets has fallen from 7 billion to 500m. In the first six months alone, an estimated £23m was raised for charitable causes, and we continue to see major supermarkets across the country give back using the fees imposed on single-use plastic bags.
For example, Waitrose has just launched yet another initiative. They’ve teamed with environmental charity Hubbub to launch a £1m fund that aims to tackle plastic pollution. It’s called ‘Plan Plastic: The Million Pound Challenge’, and it will use the proceeds from Waitrose’s 5p charge to fund the promotion of plastic reduction, reuse, and recycling.
Waitrose announced that the challenge came in response to an 800% rise in customer enquiries concerning plastic packaging following Sir David Attenborough’s BBC wildlife show Blue Planet II, which showed the devastating impact plastic pollution is having on marine life. They’re now looking to support schemes which “will have a significant measurable impact on plastic pollution (now or in the future), and a clear legacy”.
As noted by Tor Harris, head of CSR, Health & Agriculture for Waitrose & Partners:
“We hope the fund will help find new and effective ways of accelerating action to rethink how we all use and dispose of plastic now and in the future. We take this issue very seriously, and are making progress all the time, but we’re determined to maintain our momentum as well as supporting others to do the same.”
It’s fantastic to see more businesses take plastic pollution seriously, and we’re sure you’re wondering how you can do your bit. If you’re still stocking single-use plastic bags, one of the best ways to help is simply switching to paper bags or another eco-friendly material. It’s the first step towards a healthier planet.