Single-use plastic items levy could generate a million every week for good causes

A proposed levy on single-use ‘plastic items’ could generate at least £1.75 million a day for good causes, if levels of use did not change, according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

Following the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget that he would explore the possibility of a levy on single-use plastic items, CAF calculated how much could be raised if a 5p levy, similar to that placed on single-use plastic bags, was introduced.

Based on figures by sustainability charity WRAP, that more than 35 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK, a 5p levy on all plastic bottles alone could see £1,750,000 a day and subsequently £638,750,000 a year generated if levels of usage remained the same. The full amount, including other single-use plastic items, would be even greater. According to WRAP, 16 million bottles a day are not recycled.

Even if the number of plastic bottles used every day fell by 85%, similar to the reduction in use of plastic bags, this could still generate more than quarter of a million pounds a day (£262,000) for good causes.

The plastic bag levy dramatically cut the number of bags being used and raised £29 million for good causes in the first six months of the levy.

In 2016, CAF found that the plastic bag levy had a huge positive impact as retailers launched local initiative and charity partnerships. By August 2016, nearly £10 million had been distributed via CAF to charities by retailers including Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Co-Op and Sainsbury’s after the levy was introduced in October 2015.

CAF helps people and businesses give to good causes and works with several retailers to support them in donating the proceeds of the levy as well as providing advice and setting up grant programmes.

Sir John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said:

“We know that the use of plastic bags fell dramatically following the introduction of the levy, which benefitted 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.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact or call 03000 123 286

Notes for editors

1. According to WRAP, more than 35 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK

2. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is one of the largest charitable foundations in Europe and amongst the largest providers of philanthropic products and services to charities, donors and companies worldwide.  CAF’s Corporate team works with 3,000 companies including 66 of the FTSE100.

3. All figures relating to individual retailers sourced direct.

Back to top

Contact our Media team

Press office direct line (24 hours): 03000 123 286
Media office email