In less than a fortnight, Londoners will decide whether they wish for a plastic bag levy or a complete ban in the capital. London councils have held a public consultation to decide on a range of options including whether nothing should be done at all or a plastic bag levy should be introduced. MRW reports that if successful London councils could propose a 10p levy on each plastic bag distributed in shops in the capital. If successful the proposal will go into the 10th London Local Authorities Bill, due to go before Parliament in November.

The issue of a plastic bag levy in London has spilt politicians and members of the waste industry over whether the idea would work in the capital. Ireland introduced a 15 cent charge for plastic bags in 2002 and the success or failure of it has still to be assessed. Liberal Democrats and the Mayor of London both support plans for a plastic bag levy. Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: â?oI am in favour of having a levy on plastic bags which could lead to a huge reduction in the use of plastic bags, cutting back on waste and helping our efforts to tackle climate change. I have called for financial incentives to encourage people not to use plastic bags in my waste strategy for London. However, I do not have any powers to take forward such a proposal. â??

In a recent survey conducted by the British Market Research Bureau found that 61% of people are prepared to pay 5p for their plastic bags on shopping bags. Nearly two thirds of adults said they already re-used plastic bags and retailers have signed up to a voluntary code to reduce the overall impact of their carrier bags by 25% by the end of 2008.

MRW notes that experts have warned politicians to assess the situation carefully before rushing into a plastic bag levy in London. Industry sources say that Irelandâ?Ts levy on plastic bags led to more people buying black bin liners. Woodall said: â?oIn Ireland, when those free bags were taken away, sales of these went up by 300 to 500%. â??

North London Recycling Forum manager Guy Mansfield-Williams said: â?oWe would support any well thought out measures to reduce the amount of plastic used, and ending up as waste. â?oThere is no silver bullet to reduce the use of plastic bags. Schemes that have been tried in other areas have had mixed results, with a reduction in carrier bags but a rise in the purchase of bin liners.

â?oThe enormous range of different polymers used in bags and packaging makes plastic very difficult to recycle. If the packaging industry could agree on a single polymer for all packaging, recycling plastics might become as straightforward as it is for glass

Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #42-2006-October 19, 2007
Kit Strange/Warmer Bulletin
Email do Autor: