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The introduction of a single-use carrier bag charge in Wales: attitude change and behavioural spillover effects

Poortinga, Wouter ORCID:, Whitmarsh, Lorraine E. ORCID: and Suffolk, Christine 2012. The introduction of a single-use carrier bag charge in Wales: attitude change and behavioural spillover effects. [Working Paper]. WSA Working Paper Series, vol. 01-201. Cardiff: Welsh School of Architecture.

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Wales is the first country in the United Kingdom to have introduced a charge for single-use carrier bags. From the 1st of October 2011 shoppers in Wales have to pay a compulsory five pence for each single-use carrier bag at point of sale. A controlled field experiment, comparing Welsh and English samples, was set up to evaluate the effectiveness and further attitudinal and behavioural impacts of the charge. The introduction of the carrier bag charge was used to examine whether environmental policies may become more popular after their introduction and could lead to behaviour spillover (i.e., when adoption of one behaviour leads to the adoption of another behaviour). The study found that the charge was highly effective in changing its target behaviour. While own bag use increased in both countries, the increase was much greater in Wales than in England. The study also found evidence for the policy becoming more popular after its implementation. Despite support for the carrier bag charge already being high before its introduction, the Welsh population became even more supportive afterwards. Although no support was found for positive behavioural spillover, the study found changes in environmental identity that could produce spillover effects in the longer term. The theoretical and policy implications of the findings are discussed.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Publisher: Welsh School of Architecture
ISSN: 0272-4944
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 21 May 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 18:29

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