Tesco plastic bags

Tesco has given out 1.5 billion fewer single-use carrier bags since the introduction of the government bag charge in England a year ago.

The supermarket recorded a 72% fall in the use of single-use plastic bags in stores on last year, and also reported a “dramatic” decline in use for online shops, with 57% of customers selecting ‘bagless’ deliveries.

The government’s 5p plastic bag charge was introduced in England on 5 October last year, and Tesco said the money raised from the charge had been used to help fund 1,170 community projects as part of its initiative. The programme awards charities and community groups grants ranging from £8,000 to £12,000, with Tesco customers able to choose which projects receive the most funding.

George Gordon, Tesco UK & ROI communications director, said: “We’re encouraging our customers to use fewer single-use bags, so these figures are really encouraging.

“Also the money raised from our customers buying bags is making a big difference to local communities across the country.

“Thanks to Bags of Help, nearly £12m has been spent so far on local environmental improvement projects like parks, sports facilities, school playgrounds and community gardens - projects that have all been chosen by our customers.”

Tesco is working with the environmental improvement charity Groundwork to help deliver its Bags of Help scheme.

Groundwork’s national chief executive Graham Duxbury said: “Bags of Help is giving our communities both the funding and the support to create better, healthier and greener places for everyone to enjoy.

“We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in-between. They’re all fantastic projects that make a real difference in our neighbourhoods.”