Doubling plastic bag charge is "incentive to change behaviours": George Eustice

31 August 2020, 10:43

By Seán Hickey

The Environment Secretary has insisted that a hike in plastic bag charges is a positive move and will encourage the public to be conscious of their carbon footprint.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice said that "five years ago around 7 billion bags were being issued by supermarkets," and to date that number has fallen by about 95% as a result of plastic bag charges.

He told Andrew Castle that his department has plans to extend incentives to smaller retailers, pointing out that these businesses "are really keen to do this as well to play their part."

We're also going to increase the charge to ten pence," he announced, telling listeners the plan is "to give a further incentive to change behaviours and reduce the use of single use plastic bags."

Andrew was encouraged by the idea, making the case that his own plastic use has gotten out of hand.

He wondered how the Environment Secretary planned to address plastic waste in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Environment Secretary George Eustice believes an increase in plastic bag charges will change the behaviour of the public
Environment Secretary George Eustice believes an increase in plastic bag charges will change the behaviour of the public. Picture: PA/LBC

"What are we going to do with all this PPE that we're not going to need - hopefully - in a year's time?"

Mr Eustice pleaded with the public to dispose of single use PPE, such as disposable face masks, properly.

He admitted that "it's not at all ideal that we've got all this disposable PPE," and acknowledged in some cases it is unavoidable for people to use single use PPE, but pleaded with listeners to be mindful of how they dispose of their equipment to minimise environmental impact.

"The important thing is to take care and make sure it's disposed of properly," he said.

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