The English Plastic Bag Charge: Changes in Attitudes and Behaviour

By Editor on 12th October 2016

A new report by a research team at Cardiff University presents the results of an ESRC-funded project which examined the behavioural and attitudinal impacts of the English plastic bag charge, introduced in October 2015.

A mixed-methods longitudinal approach was used, including a national survey, a diary-interview study and a supermarket observational study. A dramatic decrease in the use of plastic bags was found after the introduction of the charge, with a substantial increase in people taking their own bags, independent of age, gender or income.  People also became more supportive of other charges to reduce waste, such as hypothetical charges on water bottles and excessive packaging. 

The researchers suggest that the English plastic bag charge has raised awareness of the impacts of plastic waste and litter.