Discussion in the news is suggesting the 5p plastic bags fee that was implemented in the UK a year ago could be further applied to other plastics products. The positive effects that the charge has had on the environment are suggesting that spreading the fee to additional products may result in similar outcomes.
Cardiff University has conducted extensive research into the effect the fee has had on plastic bag use, saying that 90% of shoppers now use their own reusable bags – up from 70% before the levy. Dr Elena Sautkina, an expert in environmental psychology from the university believes people are currently in the state of mind to shift away from using excessive plastics and that a levy on items such as plastic bottles would be well received.
She conducted research before and after the plastic bags levy was introduced to see how people would react to a similar levy being applied to plastic bottles. The results showed an increase in support across the country.
Other items that could also see a fee include disposable coffee cups, plastic cutlery, and excessive packaging. Coffee cups have been a contentious item in recent months as they are misunderstood as being a ‘green’ product, however they are currently not able to be recycled within the UK.
In France, plastic cutlery is to be banned by 2020 unless it is made from entirely compostable materials. France is the first country to make such a bold move to ban a product entirely.
While there are currently no plans to implement any additional charges to plastics within the UK, it is interesting to see the effect the plastic bag levy has had on the general population’s thoughts towards plastics recycling. This is a positive step towards helping our planet and reducing our carbon footprint.