Inspired by Ireland, Wales Considers Bag Fee

Posted by — July 1, 2009 4:54 pm

On June 27, the Welsh Assembly asked for public opinion on instating a 15-pence bag fee in Wales. The fee is part of the country’s goal to eliminate waste by five percent in 16 years, and get rid of landfill waste entirely by 2050.

As part of the bag fee, the Assembly has asked retailers to volunteer to reduce the amount of single-use bags they hand out to customers with hopes of reducing bag waste by 50% this spring.

Like most U.S. cities attempting to pass bag fees, the Welsh Assembly wants to emulate Ireland’s bag fee – which reduced bag waste by 90% since the induction of the fee seven years ago.

Plastic bags continue to be a menace to the landscape in Wales. Last year, 9.9 billion plastic bags were taken home from stores. That’s the equivalent of 400 plastic bags per household (BBC News). The Welsh Assembly calculated that it costs about £1 million per year to clean up plastic waste from the environment.

If the fee is approved, the Assembly plans to appropriate the money raised from the fee on environmental conservation.

Wales has set a goal to establish environmental initiatives for the future. What they’re calling “One Wales” is a series of programs to help the country become more sustainable. Along with eliminating landfill waste by 2050, the country hopes to boost their recycling program and look to renewable energy sources for power (Guardian). The Welsh Assembly is the first government in the United Kingdom to make an effort to reduce single-use bag waste.

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