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Almost 6 in 10 people want plastic bag levy to benefit green charities

Almost 6 in 10 people want plastic bag levy to benefit green charities

Environmental and recycling charities are the most popular choices for recipients of the plastic bag levy, with most people thinking the money should go to charity, according to new figures from Charities Aid Foundation.

October is the fourth anniversary of the introduction of the 5p plastic bag levy. CAF’s research found that nearly seven out of ten (67%) agree that profits from the levy should go to charities. Over half of those asked (54%) said they would be more likely to shop at a supermarket if they knew the shop donated the levy proceeds to charity and 59% singled out environmental or recycling charities as where the levy should be directed.

CAF found that 77% of those surveyed thought the levy was a positive step to protect the environment.

The survey also found that shoppers are adopting new habits since its introduction, with almost eight in ten people (78%) saying they now reuse plastic bags more often and less than one in five (17%) saying they resent having to pay for their shopping bags. Only one in eight said the 5p charge had been an inconvenience to shoppers.

Retailers are not legally required to donate levy proceeds to a good cause, but so far have donated the majority raised – £167 million – to charity.

CAF has worked with four major retailers to distribute nearly £43 million of that levy money to charitable causes since the scheme was first brought in.

However, Klara Kozlov, Head of Corporate Clients at CAF said that some retailers have not yet fully seized the potential that this money can bring to charities and that big retailers could make the most of the public’s enthusiasm for the scheme.

“Whilst the big supermarkets we work with – Co-op, Aldi, M&S and Sainsbury’s – have all donated the vast majority of plastic bag levies to a variety of great causes, there is still awareness to be raised and work to do to make sure more of this money finds its way from retailers to charities which are making such a difference in our communities.”

“We know that shoppers are not just in favour of the levy, they are very keen for the money generated to be put to good use, especially when focused on environmental issues.

“With Extinction Rebellion protests on the streets and the school strikes for the climate movement continuing to engage a new generation, consumers are more and more inclined to spend their money with retailers that share their values.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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