Plastic bag charge to double from 5p to 10p as government plans to extend the levy to small local shops

Published by Edmund Greaves on 27 December 2018.
Last updated on 27 December 2018

Plastic bag charge extended to all shops

Shoppers will be charged twice as much to use a plastic bag under plans unveiled by the government.

Environment secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to double the plastic bag charge for shoppers to 10p.

Currently, shoppers have to pay a 5p charge for each plastic bag used. The government says that the introduction of the charge has led to an 86% drop in plastic bag usage in England.

Before the charge was introduced, shoppers in England used 140 bags per year on average. Since the new charge was implemented in 2015, this has dropped to just 19 bags per person in 2017-18.

Mr Gove says: “The 5p single-use plastic carrier bag charge has been extremely successful in reducing the amount of plastic that we use in our everyday lives. Between us, we have taken over 15 billion plastic bags out of circulation.

“But we want to do even more to protect our precious planet and today’s announcement will accelerate further behaviour change and build on the success of the existing charge.”

The charge currently applies only to larger businesses such as the big supermarkets. However, the government says that it intends to extend the levy to small- and medium-sized businesses, too.

This means that local newsagents and convenience stores will be obliged to charge customers.

The government estimates that these types of businesses currently supply 3.6 billion plastic bags to customers per year.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, comments: “We welcome the government’s plans to extend carrier bag charging to all shops.

“This has been shown to be highly effective at reducing waste, while also raising money for local, national and environmental charities. Around half of small shops in England already charge for plastic bags voluntarily, with wider support for a mandatory charge.”

The proposals will now undergo consultation for the next eight weeks.

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Can I suggest that

Can I suggest that supermarkets be told to replace the plastic bags that they have for self selection of fruit and veg, with paper bags that are recyclable?

Agree but Morrison have

Agree but Morrison have started using flimsy paper bags with a clear window which struggle to make it through the till without falling apart, made of just brown paper is stronger but till operator has to live in bag to see what is in it. Everything pre-packed is the biggest waste.

It may reduce use if plastic

It may reduce use if plastic bags were made of a reinforced plastic to reduce tearing. Food packaging should be improved as things like vacpacks often have hard sharp corners that cut through plastic bags and plastic egg boxes should be improved as they do the same or go back to the moulded card egg boxes. Government ministers don't understand these things or they would have sorted it before now to make plastic bags last longer which would cut amount of plastic used, although woven material bags are better a plastic one is best for things that could leak.

That will mean more profit

That will mean more profit for shops who keep a sizeable amount of the charge in "expenses" - no doubt they'll be upped when this charge gets upped!

Will grocery and butchers

Will grocery and butchers also be charging? Why are goods not put into recyclable paper bags?