The government has introduced a law which will require large shops in England to charge 5p for all single-use plastic carrier bags from 5 October 2015. They anticipate that the charge will reduce the use of single-use plastic carrier bags, and the litter they can cause, by encouraging people to reuse bags.
Large businesses will need to charge for single-use plastic carrier bags. This applies to retailers who have 250 or more employees. Smaller businesses can also charge on a voluntary basis if they wish. Whether or not a shop must charge for bags depends on the size of the company that runs the shop, not on the size of an individual branch. Ministers were accused of a tax grab after it emerged VAT will apply to sales of bags. This means the Treasury will pocket almost 1p for each one sold and estimates show it stands to make around £19million a year.
With UK consumers set to be hit with a 5p charge for carrier bags from Monday the 5th of October, new research from financial comparison website money.co.uk reveals that for those who forgot to ‘bring their own’ could together be hit with a bill of almost £100 million for carrier bags between now and Christmas alone. The 5p charge might sound negligible but based on average carrier bag usage, shoppers could find themselves paying for 166 bags in one year, a total bill of £8.32 each.
Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief of money.co.uk comments: “Saying farewell to free carrier bags may sound like a simple change for the good of the environment but when you look beneath the surface the new ruling is a minefield for shoppers and checkout staff alike. The intricacies that dictate when shoppers should and shouldn’t be charged for a bag are overly complicated so I wouldn’t rule out checkout chaos next Monday.
“The 5p charge is there as a deterrent, and it will add upwards of £8 to shopping bills over the course of a year, but this is really about cutting the number of plastic bags we use. I’m sure everyone will get used to the charges pretty quickly but I just hope people remember to ‘pack their bags’ before they head to the shops.”
Speaking ahead of its introduction, Friends of the Earth’s Senior Resources Campaigner, David Powell, said:
“Charging for plastic bags has made a massive difference in the rest of the UK, so it’s about time England caught up. The English charge is a good start, but it makes no sense that it only applies to big retailers. Shoppers will get mixed messages depending on where they shop. This could defeat the main point of the charge in the first place – to change the way people and stores think about over-using plastic bags.
“In Wales 90% of businesses large and small have said their 5p charge hasn’t had an impact on trade, and three quarters of the Welsh population think the charge has been a good thing all round. Reducing plastic bag use is a visible and important measure, but it’s hardly job done. From the oceans of pointless plastic wrapping our food and consumer goods, to flat-lining household recycling rates, England has a very long way to go if it’s serious about keeping waste out of our land, rivers and seas.”
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .