Everyone can remember the days when plastic bags were free and you didn’t have to worry about that 5p charge for every bag you needed to take your groceries home.

Those were the days.

But now we have a 5p charge, and while it may be easy to lament the loss of every 5p, it is nice to see just how much cleaner our towns have become, and how much the environment has benefitted.

As of July 2016, the number of plastic bags sold fell by an incredible 85%!

That’s an amazing number! And in such a short amount of time, considering the charge was only introduced last October.

This is a fantastic turnaround and shows just how far that 5p goes to helping the environment.

In the year before the charge was introduced the top seven major supermarkets handed out an astounding 7 billion bags. That’s the equivalent of 140 bags per person living in the UK!

Since the charge, that number has taken a significant downturn, and now sits at somewhere closer to 500 million.

It makes you wonder where the rest of the 7 billion are!

This is a fantastic result, one that can be seen just be looking at the streets around us!

One fun fact is that 6 billion plastic bags alone could cover an area up to 900,000,000m2. That’s an area three times the size of Birmingham! And this amount of plastic bags would weigh approximately the same as 300 blue whales!

Plastic can pose a big problem to our wildlife, especially our marine wildlife, but with the introduction of the charge, that problem is a lot smaller.

There is still a lot to be done in terms of cleaning up our environment, but the introduction of this charge has seen fantastic results. Let’s hope the change continues!