Levy on plastic bottles 'could raise £1.75m a day for good causes'

The Charities Aid Foundation says a 5p levy on single-use plastic bottles could bring in more than £600m a year for good causes, at current usage levels

Imposing a 5p levy on plastic bottles could generate more than £1.75m a day for charities and other good causes, according to figures released by the Charities Aid Foundation

CAF’s estimates are based on figures from the sustainability charity Wrap, which says that more than 35 million single-use plastic bottles are used in the UK every day.

This means that a 5p levy would raise approximately £638.8m a year, if levels of usage remained the same.

If the use of plastic bottles decreased by a similar amount to the use of plastic bags after the introduction of the plastic bag levy – which saw plastic bag usage fall by 85 per cent – a plastic bottle levy could still raise £262,000 a day for good causes, according to CAF's figures. 

The plastic bag levy raised £29m for good causes in the first six months of operation. CAF believes that if the levy were to include all single-use plastic items, the total donated to charity could be significantly greater.

CAF’s announcement comes after the conclusion of the BBC documentary series Blue Planet II, which repeatedly highlighted the damage plastic is causing to wildlife and ecosystems in the world’s oceans.

It also comes after an announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the most recent Budget that he would explore the possibility of a levy on single-use plastic items.

Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "We know that the use of plastic bags fell dramatically after the introduction of the levy, which benefited the environment but also raised millions of pounds for good causes.

"A similar levy on single-use plastic items would reap similar rewards, reducing the consumption of single-use plastic items, but also in funding work which would not have otherwise been possible."

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