Credit: Rex Features
Credit: Rex Features

The end of the free plastic bag

On October 5 a 5p plastic bag tax was introduced by the government. Whilst the change has been welcomed by environmentalists such as the Environmental Minister, Rory Stewart, a number of Kingston University students have said the change is unnecessary.

Personally, I do not see what the problem is. I carry far too many pennies and most of the time they go straight in the bin. 5p is not enough to send you into debt and if the money will be put to good use, I am not bothered by it.

There is no use in complaining to the shop workers because most of them are also angry about it. It is just a waste of time because they are simply following regulation. I would hate to keep apologising for a decision that was not my own.

My sister works at The Body Shop and customers complain and refuse to buy bags, but they cannot carry their items. She has been forced to give them out for free as customers have been hostile and started arguments.

Retailers were encouraged to give the earnings to charity, and Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are among the companies who agreed to donate. I believe that they can make a difference to communities if they follow through.

According to the Guardian, Scotland’s plastic bag usage has been reduced by more than 80 per cent after the law was introduced in 2014. The Government hopes that it will have a similar effect on our country. Supermarkets such as Waitrose have reduced the amount of bags in store, so the law will have a positive effect.

Customers can avoid paying 5p by putting smaller items in their handbags or backpacks. Furthermore, people can purchase the reusable bags which can be reused on multiple occasions. These bags are less prone to breakage and can hold more products.

Reusable bags are a good start in reducing plastic waste on the streets. Carrier bags are toxic and can release chemicals into the soil when they are not properly disposed of and damage plants. The bags also cause injuries to animals who eat or choke on them.

I waste my bags because they are always free and I take them for granted. The fee drives me to put my bags into good use and I encourage other members of the public to do the same.

The KU Shop will charge for bags so be prepared for this the next time you buy your lunch. I hope that the benefits outweigh the inconvenience of dragging a heavier bag around university.

About Charlotte Hanson

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