Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 61

Plastic bags – enough is enough!

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Single-use plastic bags, given away in shops and supermarkets around the world, contribute to the millions of tonnes of waste that end up in landfill sites and oceans every year.

In an effort to combat this problem, last week a new law was introduced in Scotland, where supermarkets currently give away 800 million carrier bags every year. From now on, all shops and supermarkets in Scotland must charge a minimum of 5p (£0.05 GBP, $0.08 USD) per carrier bag, with all profits going to good causes and environmental initiatives. It is hoped that this charge will encourage customers to think hard about whether or not they really need a bag.

However, Scotland is not the first country to introduce a charge for carrier bags; for example, Wales introduced the same charge in 2011, with Northern Ireland following last year. Many other countries in all corners of the globe have introduced similar charges, with some even banning many types of carrier bag altogether.

Yet, perhaps the greatest success story in terms of the reduction of carrier bag use is Denmark, where a charge was introduced in 2003. This Scandinavian country can now boast the lowest plastic bag use in the whole of Europe, with an average of only four bags per person every year.

I am English, and I can only hope that in England we will follow this lead and introduce a carrier bag charge very soon. In England, many supermarkets already charge for carrier bags, and others encourage the use of more durable, reusable bags. But until a charge is compulsory, many people will continue to use single-use plastic bags without thinking of the consequences for our planet. With the European Union seeking an 80 per cent reduction in the use of single-use plastic bags in the next five years, I think it will be just a matter of time before a charge is introduced in England, too.

I am currently living in Mexico, and I am finding it hard to adapt to how carrier bags are used over here. I have been in the country for around two months, and I have already accumulated a big bag full of carrier bags; every time I go to the supermarket, my shopping is packed for me into far more bags than I really need. A carrier bag charge here would definitely be a good idea!

Language level: 
Do you reuse plastic bags? Do you think it is a good idea for supermarkets to charge for plastic bags? 


jasminemeer's picture
jasminemeer 31 October, 2014 - 12:32

Yes,it is a really good idea for supermarkets to charge for plastic bag because every time here and there especially in our country we usually see plastic bags rolling on the roads,streets and many other places.People and government both should be blamed for this rubbish because government don,t said anything on this topic,they don,t make any rules against this huge problem and the people don,t care about this ,they just increase the rubbish without thinking for anyone ,even they don,t think about their own selves ,they don't care that they are just spreading diseases that can be fatal for lives.At last their should be some rules and regulations against their problem.We have to generate awareness among people about this problem ,in this way we can protect our lovely planet .People have to reuse their plastic bags and charge on plastic bag by shopkeepers is indeed a wonderful and beneficial idea for lovely planet.I love my planet so much and I wish that it would also be loved by others.

23 users have voted.
Silvermist's picture
Silvermist 29 October, 2014 - 14:49

I completely agree with HelenW. Plastic bags are nightmares, they float almost everywhere and can be found on the earth constantly where ever we go. Plus, It is bad for Mother Earth in an extremely high status. I try my best to to reuse Plastic bags. And I do Approve of charging for plastic bags in supermarkets so people will avoid using them or either reuse them. But I think using an alternative solution like using bags made out of cloth rather than charging the plastic bags is much better and easier, plus, it is less costly. So Let's GO GREEN!!!

24 users have voted.
HelenW's picture
HelenW 29 October, 2014 - 17:58

I agree with you, Silvermist! Hopefully, if supermarkets charge for plastic bags it will encourage people to bring their own bags made from cloth instead of plastic. Maybe they need to charge more than 5p per plastic bag too, as this will deter people from buying them! 

21 users have voted.
Silvermist's picture
Silvermist 30 October, 2014 - 13:01

Yes, yes,quite true......You know, I really made up my mind to tempt my classmates into not using plastic bags,on behalf of Eco-conservationists like you. Thanks a lot for your article,HelenW.

17 users have voted.