How to get Involved in the Big Bag Ban

The Big Bag Ban is a call on the UK government to ban all plastic bags in retailers to help fight against the pollution of plastic bags. According to Planet Patrol over 2.1 BILLION bags were sold in the UK last year, with more than half of these being 'bags for life.' The price added onto single use plastic bags is not doing enough to tackle plastic pollution and is actually just moving a problem.  

"Since the government introduced the 5p plastic bag charge in 2015 its claimed that single use bag sales have dropped by 95%"

Great right? Well no, this is actually incredibly misleading. These figures do not take into account the sales of bags for life and in fact sales for the 'bag for life' have reocketed as people just replace a single use plastic bag with a 'bag for life'

Proposals for change

In 2018, the former UK Government proposed extending the charge to all retailers and increasing the charge to 10p per bag. On the 31st August 2020, the government confirmed that from the 1st April 2021 the charge would be extended to all businesses of any size supplying goods and increased from 5p to 10p per bag. However the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural affairs (DEFRA) have now said there is a delay ands that that "changes have been delayed to ensure businesses have sufficient time to prepare for the changes." Scotland however has gone ahead with their bag increase as planned. 

What you need to know

Although sales of single use bags may have reduced significantly, this has actually just been replaced with the sales of 'bags for life' with some supermarkets seeing an almost ten-fold increase in 'bag for life' sales from 2018-2019, according to Greenpeace and EIA sales have increased from 3.5 million to 34 million. 

Actually, each household bought on average 57 bags for life in 2019, this is an increase of 65% according to Greenpeace on planet patrol.

The single use bag charge legislation only ‘encourages’ businesses to donate the money raised through plastic bag sales – they are not legally required to do so. although most UK retailers reportedly donated the vast majority of the proceeds, those proceeds have fallen since 2016-17, as most big retailers have shifted from single-use carrier bags to Bags for Life.

Today, Planet Patrol have written and sent an open letter to Environmental secretary, George Eustace, to start proceedings for an outright ban on plastic bags. This letter was signed by a number of leading public figures, activists, academics all in support of banning all plastic bags in the UK. This is a great start into pushing the government to take a bolder approach into tackling plastic pollution. See the letter below. 


 big bag ban planet patrol

big bag ban planet patrol




So What can you do? 

Take the pledge

Head over to Planet Patrol to show your support for banning plastic bags. Click here to take the pledge. it only takes 10 seconds. 

Sign the petition for supermarkets to cut back on all plastic

Click here to read from about the petition from Greenpeace around plastic pollution. 

Stop buying plastic bags

opt for a non plastic reusable bag like our Eco Vibe cotton tote bag or our Eco Living Produce bags.

Write to your retailer

by writing to supermarkets and retailers, asking them to stop selling plastic bags, this lets them know that their customers demand change. Retailers will base their buying decisions on what customer focuses are and trends are and if people are making it clear they don't want plastic bags, retailers will follow. Yes it should be the other way round but unfortunately most retailers don't like to change something unless they feel they have to. You can use the same template as the open letter from Planet Patrol.

Write to your MP

For the same reason as above, by voicing your concerns and demanding change to your Local MP, it is more likely to be heard and spoken in parliament. Use the same template as the open letter written by Planet Patrol.  

Get involved on instagram
Use #BagYourselfaKeeper to show us your reusable bags. tag @onplanetpatrol and @the_plastic_free_life. 


For more information you can head over to planet parol where there is lots of FAQs or check out our instagram stories.
Lucy x



House of Commons Library 
Planet Patrol



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