Plastic bag usage plummets

The number of disposable plastic bags used by shoppers in England has fallen by over 85% because of the 5p tax introduced last October, early figures show.

The big seven supermarkets handed out 7billion bags in the 12 months before the charge, but only just over 500m in the first six months after the charge was bright in, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The government’s first official assessment of the impact of the charge, which was introduced to help reduce litter and protect wildlife, appears to more than justify their forecast that the initiative would reduce use of single-use carrier bags by up to 80% in supermarkets and 50% on the high street. It is also expected to save £60m in litter cleanup costs.

The charge has also triggered a massive surge in the number of reusable bags.

The ‘bag for life’ however is also concern for scientists and consumers alike, because while they may be great for the environment, reusable bags can be a refuge for all kinds of bacteria.

Independent tests show that bacteria can survive in an ordinary reusable shopping bag anything for up to eight weeks. When researchers collected them from shoppers in California and Arizona they found large numbers of bacteria in almost all bags and coliform bacteria in half. This was partly because people were storing them in their car boots – a great breeding ground for microbes.

The Biomaster ‘bag for life’ is the first high street reusable bag with inbuilt antibacterial technology proven to inhibit the growth of dangerous bacteria and help prevent cross-contamination during the weekly shopping trip.

Biomaster antibacterial technology inhibits the growth of microbes such as campylobacter, E.Coli, salmonella for the useful lifetime of the product. The bag recently won ‘Best New Idea’ at Foodex 2016, the UK’s premier trade event for the food and drink processing, packaging, ingredients and logistics industries.

For more information about the Biomaster antibacterial ‘bag for life’ click here.

*Please note that Addmaster was acquired by the Polygiene Group AB in January 2021, so all news articles prior to that date will still be branded as Addmaster.