One only has to read the headlines to see that the recently introduced ‘carrier bag tax’ is proving very taxing indeed! With the TaxPayers’ Alliance calling for the tax to be dropped, and the Liberal Democrats urging the Government to expand the tax right across the UK, it looks as though the country is divided on the issue – but are we missing the point?
No one wants to see plastic carrier bags littering the streets and cluttering up the beautiful British countryside, but is a tax or levy going to make a real impact on the UK’s litter problem?
As with the carrier bag tax, there are two sides to the story, and while many of the larger supermarket chains in Wales have reported a “significant drop” in the request for single use carrier bags since the tax was introduced, the smaller high street retailers are calling the fee an “unacceptable burden” on an already struggling economy.
The debate is likely to go on for many months, if not years to come, and unless we want to follow in the footsteps of Los Angeles, where a “complete ban of plastic grocery bags” has been introduced, it is time for the consumer to take responsibility by reducing, reusing and recycling their plastic carrier bags.
Retailers can help by replacing their single use carrier bags with high quality, biodegradable polythene carrier bags, and by offering a recycle bin outside their establishment to ensure any old plastic bags end up in the recycling plant, and not the landfill.
As Northern Ireland plans to introduce the carrier bag tax in April 2013, it seems the TPA and the Governments will have plenty to discuss in the coming months, and as they battle it out on our behalf, we can start making changes by implementing the three “Rs” into our daily life.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – simple!