The Future of Single-Use Plastic Bags: Is the End in Sight?
Consumers in England reduced their consumption of single-use plastic bags by 86% after the UK government introduced a 5p charge in 2015. This is in line with similar findings from the other countries of the UK, namely Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, which introduced charges in 2011, 2013 and 2014 respectively. This article looks at how successful this has been and which measures worked, as well as the success of “nudging” in other social movements, and suggests the use of nudging as a method to encourage long-term behavioural change towards the consumption of single-use plastics.
Bags for Life: The Embedding of Ethical Consumerism
The aim of this paper is to understand why some ethical behaviours fail to embed, and importantly what can be done about it. We address this by looking at an example where ethical behaviour has not become the norm, i.e. the widespread, habitual, use of ‘bags for life’. This is an interesting case because whilst a consistent message of ‘saving the environment’ has been the basis of the promotion of ‘bags for life’ in the United Kingdom for many years, their uptake has only recently become more widespread and still remains at low levels. Through an exploratory study, we unpack some of the contextual barriers which may influence ethical consumerism. We do this by examining the attitudes which influenced people to start using ‘bags for life’, and how people persuade others to use ‘bags for life’. We use a case study analysis to try and understand why ethical behaviour change has stalled and not become sustained. We find that both individuals and institutions play a significant interaction role in encouraging a sustained behavioural change towards ethical consumerism.