Tesco has revealed over 1.5 billion single-use carrier bags have been saved by Tesco customers in England since the introduction of the Government bag charge a year ago. The figures represent an incredible 72% fall in the use of single-use plastic bags being used in Tesco stores. Tesco customers shopping on tesco.com have also dramatically reduced the number of bags they use, with 57% of online shoppers selecting 'bagless' deliveries.  

The Government's 5p plastic bag charge was introduced in England on 5 October last year with the aim of cutting the number of plastic bags given out in shops and improving the environment. Over the last year, the money raised by Tesco customers has been used to help fund 1170 community projects as part of Tesco's Bags of Help initiative. The programme sees charities and community groups awarded grants ranging from £8,000 to £12,000, with Tesco customers able to choose which projects receive the most funding.

George Gordon, UK & ROI Communications Director at Tesco said: “We're encouraging our customers to use fewer single-use bags, so these figures are really encouraging. Also the money raised from our customers buying bags is making a big difference to local communities across the country. Thanks to Bags of Help, nearly £12 million has been spent so far on local environmental improvement projects like parks, sports facilities, school playgrounds and community gardens – projects that have all been chosen by our customers. Going forward, we will help customers do even more for their communities by bringing together more projects for them to vote on every month.”

Tesco is working with the environmental improvement charity, Groundwork, to help deliver its Bags of Help scheme. Groundwork's national Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Bags of Help is giving our communities both the funding and the support to create better, healthier and greener places for everyone to enjoy. We've been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in-between. They're all fantastic projects that make a real difference in our neighbourhoods.”

The next customer vote will take place 31 October to 13 November in all of our stores and £12.5 million is up for grabs. The size of the grants available range from £8,000 to £12,000.