Head to the Internet right now—do not wait!!!—to purchase a single Tesco plastic bag, roughly 11 years old, from eBay seller gome602013. Is it possible this bloke, based in England, is selling a vintage, branded grocery bag for £1.99 ($3.05) because 2004 was an excellent year for plastics? It is possible. But gome602013 is just one of a number of British online sellers offering bags for less-than-bargain prices, and the timing doesn’t seem to be an accident. England’s plastic bag tax kicked in October 5.
England is the last country in the UK to institute a tax on plastic bags. The English are now are charged 5p (about $.08) per bag acquired at a store or chain with 250 or more employees (with exemptions). The BBC reports that retailers are expected to donate the levy “to good causes”; the government believes that they will raise more than $1.1 billion in the next ten years. In return, England is expected nearly $100 million in litter cleaning costs, and $20 million in carbon savings.