Megan Williams
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Aug, 18

Why the 10p Plastic Bag Fee isn’t Enough

In many parts of the UK, and in other parts of the world, the majority of stores have started to implement a small fee for the use of plastic bags. In the UK, that fee is usually about 10p, and in the US, it tends to be about 10 cents or a little more per bag. 

This was designed to help cut back on plastic bag waste, but we’re not totally convinced it’s all that useful. 

Today, we want to go over some arguments as to why it’s not as useful as people think, and then we want to give an alternative that can make a real difference. 

Why the Plastic Bag Fee isn’t Enough

Statistics show that these fees are somewhat helpful. They do encourage people to be more responsible, and they were enough to make people switch over to more permanent options that they bring themselves. 

However, we don’t think it’s as impactful as it could be. Here’s why. 

It’s Too Cheap:

First, whether you’re talking about the US or the UK, the fees are ridiculously small. They have to be. No one is going to pay several dollars for a plastic bag, and stores do have to serve their customers. However, it’s so cheap that it doesn’t make a difference in one’s shopping costs unless they’re already low-income, and that’s not the route society should be taking to curb the issue. 

With one trip requiring ten bags, that’s about one dollar spent on bags. That’s it. Most people aren’t worried about that. 

The Bags Still Get Littered: 

People aren’t suddenly holding onto their bags as if they’re made of gold just because they paid a measly stipend for them. They buy the bags, get their groceries home, and unless they were already trying to curb their waste, they likely just chuck them in the trash or worse, anyway. 

The Solution is in Paper Bags

Plastic bags are simply outdated, and while the effort is noble, it’s undeniable that the overall impact isn’t as great as people expected. 

Luckily, there is a solution to solve the problem, and maybe, stores could even get rid of the bag fee, altogether. 

Eco-friendly paper bags aren’t the forest-wrecking bags they used to be; they’re made from an invasive seaweed species that damages coastal regions, and it grows extremely quickly. 

This renewable, destructive, seaweed species can produce paper bags cheaply and efficiently; while actually helping the environment. 

Even if these bags get chucked on the ground (which is still an eyesore), they won’t stick around long at all. However, they’re just as strong and durable as plastic bags, and they’ll fulfill the needs of shoppers everywhere. 

It’s Time to Make the Switch

Plastic bags were supposed to be a solution to the costly and damaging paper bags that were made from trees decades ago. In an ironic twist, paper is coming to undo the damage the plastic bags have caused. It’s time to make the switch to paper bags instead of worrying about bag fees on plastic. 

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