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People refuse to use single-use plastic bags because they are able to save money and not because of their concern for the environment.

People refuse to use single-use plastic bags because they are able to save money and not because of their concern for the environment.

Shoppers shun single-use plastic bags to save pennies rather than the planet, a 'big data' study of more than 10,000 consumers has found

A study of over 10,000 consumers found that shoppers prefer single-use plastic bags to save money than the environment.

Research by Nottingham University Business School’s N/LAB analytics center of excellence suggests that the huge drop in plastic bag usage in the UK may not be due to shoppers worrying about the environment.

The study used more than a million loyalty card transactions in order to determine the psychological and demographic predictors of single use bag purchases.

Bags are more likely to be purchased by younger shoppers, who are more likely to be male and less frugal, but whose environmental concerns don’t affect their decision to buy bags.

Shoppers shun single-use plastic bags to save pennies rather than the planet, a 'big data' study of more than 10,000 consumers has found

A study of more than 10,000 consumers revealed that shoppers shun single-use plastic bags in order to save money and the environment.

UK plastic bag prices

With growing concerns over the environmental impact of plastic bags on litter and pollution, Wales implemented the UK’s first levy. Northern Ireland followed in 2013, and Scotland in 2014.

After its seven largest supermarkets had given away 7.6 billion single-use bags in 2015, England implemented its own 5p levy. This doubled to a minimum 10p in May and was extended to all retailers.

2014 saw the distribution of approximately 140 bags per person, which equates to approximately 61,000 tonnes.

Five years ago, the supply of single-use bags increased. These bags take longer to degrade in nature and can cause damage to wildlife.

Retailers were required to charge a fee to raise funds for charities. Single-use bags were given away in England by more than 90%. There have been an estimated 180 million donations to good causes.

These findings came as plastic bag use rises to an annual peak during the festive season, despite all England’s retailers being legally required by law to charge 10p per bag.

Dr James Goulding (N/LAB’s associate Director), co-author of the study, stated that: “Until now, very little was known about those who still buy plastic bags regularly or those who don’t.”

“Previous research tended to be focused only on consumers’ personalities and motivations, not, crucially on whether individuals’ beliefs actually translate into actions in the real world.

“Our approach recognizes that people leave behind a significant amount of data that can be used to do social good and shed light on their actual behavior.

More than 10,000 consumers completed a questionnaire to learn about their lives, traits, and environmental opinions.

The results of their surveys were linked to their purchases data. A machine learning algorithm was then used in order to determine the factors which actually predicted bag-buying behavior.

The survey asked about opinions on climate change and environmental considerations in general. However, these views were not found to have any influence on purchasing decisions.

Dr Gavin Smith is an associate professor in analytics. He said that his findings would show that bag-buyers who are not frequent buyers are at least partially motivated to save money.

“But what we didn’t anticipate, not least considering the role of environmentalism underpinning this levy, was that environmental worries wouldn’t predict any consumption at all.

“This suggests that future campaigns to reduce plastic bags consumption might benefit by different messaging.

“It’s all about understanding who and how to target them.”

In light of growing concerns about the impact plastic bags have on litter and pollution, Wales introduced the UK’s first levy in 2011. Northern Ireland followed in 2013 and Scotland in 2014.

Amid growing concerns over the contribution plastic bags make to pollution and litter, Wales introduced the UK's first levy in 2011, with Northern Ireland following in 2013 and Scotland in 2014

With growing concerns over the environmental impact of plastic bags on litter and pollution, Wales implemented the UK’s first levy. Northern Ireland followed in 2013 and Scotland followed in 2014.

After its seven largest supermarkets gave away more 7.6 billion single use bags in 2015, England introduced its own 5p tax. It doubled to a minimum of 10.2p in May and was extended across all retailers.

2014 saw the distribution of approximately 140 bags per person, which equates to approximately 61,000 tonnes.

Five years ago, the supply of single-use bags increased. These bags take longer to degrade in nature and can cause damage to wildlife.

Retailers were required to charge a fee to raise funds for charities. Single-use bags were given away in England by more than 90%. There have been an estimated 180 million donations to good causes.

According to N/LAB’s study Northern Ireland has the highest plastic bag sales. The lowest are found in the North West and South West regions of England.

See Also

Rosa Lavelle Hill, co-author of the study, from the Alan Turing Institute, stated that a better understanding of consumers’ psychology and behaviour is essential to making pro-environmental decisions.

DEEP-SEA DEBRIS DATABASE REVEALS EXTENT OCEAN PLASTIC POLLUTION

Plastic pollution is a serious problem that is ravaging the planet’s surface.

The Mariana Trench is the deepest part the ocean. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean to the east the Mariana Islands. It is nearly 36,100 feet (11,000 m) below the surface.

One plastic bag was found 35.754 feet (10.898 metres) below surface in this region. It is the deepest known human-made pollutant in the world.

Plastic pollution is slowly sinking, but it is also spreading further into oceans. One piece of plastic was found to be over 620 miles (1,000 km), from the nearest coast. That’s more than twice the length of France.

The Global Oceanographic Data Center, (Godac), of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology was launched for public use in March 2017.

This database contains data from 5,010 dives. 3,425 manmade debris items were culled from all of these divers.

More than 33 percent of the debris consisted of macro-plastic, followed by metal (26%) and rubber (1.8%). Shingles (1.7%), glass (1.4%), cloth/paper/lumber (1.3%), and other anthropogenic items (35%).

It was also found that 99% of all waste was intended for single-use.

These ratios were higher for macro-plastic (52%) and single-use plastic (92%), for all man-made items that are deeper than 20,000 feet (66,000 meters).

It is evident that the plastic debris images of deep-sea organisms show the direct damage it caused to the environment.

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