Shoppers in England will be charged 5p for a single-use plastic bag from next year following a new bill from Ministers.
It is estimated that 8 billion plastic bags are given away in England alone. It is expected that the new levy will reduce that amount by 75%. A similar tax is already used in Northern Ireland and Wales, and will be introduced to Scotland in October.
The cash generated by the bag tax will be donated to charities nominated by the shops. Any businesses with less than 500 employees will be exempt from the charge.
Single-use carrier bags can take 1,000 years to degrade. Not only detrimental to wildlife but it is estimated that there are 70 bags per mile on our coastlines.
Should there be a levy on them or should they be banned completely?
The same argument could be made for single-use plastic water bottles, which are still a huge burden on our ecosystem. Over 70 billion single use plastic water bottles are consumed annually in the US and Europe alone; National Geographic estimate that a maximum of 20% are recycled.