Over 50s love an old bag!

Friday 2 October 2015

In a survey of more than 9,000 over 50s, three quarters stated that they support the new carrier bag charges being introduced on 5th October, but strongly believe the money raised should be donated to charity.

Over 50s love an old bag!

The single-use carrier bag charge legislation comes into effect in England on the 5th October and will affect only affect large retailers with more than 250 employees. Introduced in an effort to reduce the flood of carrier bags being discarded it’s hoped the move will help protect the countryside and wildlife in our towns and cities.

The number of single-use carrier bags handed out by supermarkets in England rose for a fifth consecutive year in 2014. Last year 7.6billion bags or 140 bags per person were given out. Carrier bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down.

However, despite many suggesting the charges will be universally unpopular Saga research shows that over 50s overwhelmingly support the new charges (75%) with only one in seven saying that they fundamentally disagreed with the move. Women were more likely to support the change with 81% versus 71% for men. Those living in the North West were least likely to agree with the charge (71%) whereas those living in London were more supportive (79%). Interestingly whilst 75% support the new carrier bag charge nine in ten already take bags with them when they go shopping so are unlikely to be affected by the move.

However, it appears that whilst many are supportive of the move, the vast majority (75%) do not believe that large retailers should be profiting from the move, and feel all of the money should be donated to charity.

Saga’s director of communications Paul Green commented “Our research shows that over 50s love and old bag, with nine in ten even taking one to the supermarket with them. On a more serious note they clearly have the ‘environmental’ bug and do reuse their shopping bags wherever possible. Some retailers have already announced they will do the right thing, but others might want to take their lead if they don’t want to lose customers to their more virtuous competitors”.


Populus interviewed 9,399 Saga respondents, all aged 50+, online between 22 and 29 September 2015. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see www.populus.co.uk.

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