Tesco has revealed it plans to fund the creation of thousands of small parks, sports facilities and nature walks with the anticipated £30m a year windfall from the introduction of plastic bag charges.
From Monday (5 October), customers at all large UK retailers will be charged 5p for each single-use carrier bag they use during their shopping trip.
Tesco is calling on customers to nominate local good causes they would like to see benefit from the money and said these would be whittled down to three that customers will be able to choose from to vote for in each area.
The retailer has also announced it will offer a limited number of free Bags for Life at the till in the run-up to the charge as well as share a variety of tips on how customers can cut down the number of bags used during each shopping trip.
Tesco has revamped the design of its single-use carrier bags to coincide with the introduction of the charge. The new bags are made of recycled plastic and are much stronger so fewer will be needed for each shopping trip.
The bags will be manufactured using a ‘closed loop’ system, with bags made from plastic recycled from Tesco stores. Tesco customers will be able to recycle their used bags in store.
Statistics from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - where a bag charge already exists - suggest plastic carrier bag use in England will drop by nearly 70%.
The bag charge in Scotland and Wales has so far raised more than £5m for the RSPB, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Keep Wales Tidy.
“It’s incredibly important we do our bit for the environment and we’re really proud of the work we’ve done in this area, particularly in reducing waste,” said Rebecca Shelley, group communications director for Tesco. “We want to do everything we can to help our customers minimise the impact of the charge as well as their impact on the environment, by helping them recycle and re-use their bags.
“We’re also going to work together with our customers to make sure the millions that will be raised from the bag charge goes towards making a real difference for our local communities.”