The introduction of the 5p charge for disposable plastic shopping bags in England has effectively brought an end to the era of throwaway shopping bags. However, there are plenty of positive to be drawn, now that plastic will be put to more sensible use.

Plastic of course is one of the world’s greatest inventions. Imaging for a moment a world without plastic. Hard isn’t it?

Plastic packaging is just part of a long history of innovation in plastic and people in the future will look on the disposable plastic bag as one of the darker periods. Since the 1950s, an estimated 500 billion plastic bags have been manufactured.

This is a staggering success story and plastic bags have more than demonstrated how useful they are compared to other materials but unfortunately they were so good, people started to take them for granted. This meant they became throwaway items that polluted the environment.

The introduction of the 5p plastic bag charge has led to an 85% reduction in usage. While this undoubtedly has an impact on plastic bag manufacturers it also creates opportunity at the same time.

Plastic was never intended to be a material we use once and throwaway. The end of throwaway plastic bags has only increased the demand for more durable multi-use plastic bags or bags for life and this can only be a good thing for everyone.