Sunday, 5 August 2007

TAXING PLASTIC BAGS IN KENT?

TAXING PLASTIC BAGS IN KENT?

A parliamentary bill will propose taxing the use of plastic bags in London in November(1). Kent Green Party is contacting all Kent MPs, the County Council and district councils to support a similar bill for Kent.

Steve Dawe comments: “Kent Green Party welcomes the news that a 10p tax on plastic bags could be introduced in London. But Kent must follow. Kent Green Party is contacting Kent’s MPs, the County Council and district councils to support such a tax in Kent. We also call upon these groups to representatives to start working with retailers now to ensure that alternative bags made from recycled and degradable materials such as cloth or paper will be widely available by the time the tax is introduced.

“When you consider that a non-biodegradable bag can take up to a 1000 years to decay into a toxic sludge(2) and can end up as rubbish floating in the sea, not addressing the issue of plastic bags shows incredible environmental complacency. Everybody has a responsibility for reducing the number of plastic bags we use everyday. The Government must approve a 10p tax on plastic bags in Kent as in London and countrywide as soon as possible. Retailers must provide alternatives to plastic, and shoppers should either reuse their own plastic bags or use long-life cloth bags.(3)”

Notes:
1) announcement by London Councils That a new London Local Authorities Bill, due to go to parliament in November, will include a proposal to levy a 10P tax on every plastic bag provided in London.

2) Non-Biodegradable waste - A carrier bag can take up to 500-1000 years to decay in landfill. They leave behind toxins that enter the soil, and potentially aquifers http://www.recyclenowpartners.org.uk/research_fun_facts/fun_facts.html http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article315197.ece Supermarkets. The supermarkets are only now beginning to look at how to reduce the number of plastic bags they give away, estimated at 17.5 billion each year in the UK, equivalent to over 290 for every person in the UK, most of which end up in landfill. (http://www.wasteonline.org.uk/resources/InformationSheets/Plastics.htm)

3) Evidence from existing schemes: Ireland (plastax) have opted for principle of ‘sale only’ i.e. all plastic bags must be purchased by the consumer, as a deterrent measure. In 2002 Irish government puts a 30 cents tax (about 20p) on each plastic bag, this resulted in: · 95% reduction in consumption: in the first 3 months, 23 million bags were handed out compared to a previous expected 300 million; the tax raised around 10 million euros a year for environmental projects (http://environment.guardian.co.uk/waste/story/0,,2060566,00.html#article_continue) Modbury: a town in Devon: All 43 traders and shopkeepers in Modbury will stop providing plastic bags to customers, giving out 100% biodegradable cornstarch bags, recyclable paper bags or reusable cotton and jute bags instead. The traders of Modbury (pop 1,553) hope that their move will serve as a blueprint for the rest of the country. Customers will be allowed to bring their own plastic bags to reuse, but if they want a new bag they will have to buy one. Rebecca Hosking’s film was the inspiration for Modbury becoming the first town in England to phase out plastic bags and shows the effect of plastic on wildlife, including how an albatross had picked up plastic drifting in the sea mistaking it for squid and then feeding it to its chicks.

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