Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Change of Behavior Because of Increased Charge for Plastic Bags


In 2015, a research project conducted in England assessed the public’s response to a mandatory five pence charge for each single-use plastic bags. The project used surveys, supermarket observations and interviews to obtain approximately five thousand data samples.

It is well known that plastic waste leads to terrible consequences worldwide, such as the death of oceanic flora and fauna, negative effects on human health and environmental disasters. 

The data collected in England was compared to the other states of United Kingdom where the plastic bag charge already exists.  Moreover, the surveys and interviews measured the change of various behaviors to assess the effectiveness of such laws. 

It was found that the behavior changed significantly in the majority of England’s demographics. The frequency of taking plastic bags dropped by approximately 30% and the number of people who use their own bag rose by around 20%. Moreover, the support for the bag charged increased greatly. In the light of that, policy spillover (the effect where one policy changes opinion of public on other similar policies) was investigated. In this case, it was predicted that there was no change in the policies, such as no change in increased fuel duties.

This legislation brought the number of single-use bags being consumed in England close to the number seen in Wales and Scotland.  

In conclusion, this research found that the increased fee for the plastic bags greatly improve the environmental behavior of customers, therefore decreasing the overall consumption of plastic. Additionally, the change of opinions towards more positive didn’t spread on the bigger range of environmental policies.

Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00266/full#h5

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