Majority of public wants plastic bag levy to go to charities

The majority of the general public wants the 5p plastic bag levy to be donated to charitable causes, research has revealed.

New research conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) found nearly seven in 10 (67%) think the levy from plastic bag purchases should be donated to charities, with over half (54%) claiming they'd be more likely to shop at a supermarket if they knew the donated proceeds went to charity.

Meanwhile, six in ten (59%) said the funds should be directed to environmental or recycling charities specifically.

The mandatory levy was introduced across the UK as a whole in 2015, for plastic bags from large retailers such as supermarkets. CAF's research found that nearly eight in ten (77%) of those surveyed said the levy was a positive step to protect the environment.

Retailers are not legally obliged to donate levy proceeds to a good cause, but retailers have so far donated £167 million to charity.

However, CAF said many supermarkets are still failing to use the opportunity to donate money to good causes.

“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," CAF head of corporate clients, Klara Kozlov said.

“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.”

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