New charges for single-use carrier bags

Posted by Nathan Lloyd | 14/09/2015 | Category: Community

The UK used a staggering 8.5 billion single-use carrier bags in 2014, which equates to around 140 bags for every person.  It is also estimated that the average household has around 40 plastic bags squirreled away somewhere around the home.*

With millions of barrels of oil wasted each year to produce plastic bags that British consumers only use for an average of 12 minutes, the government has decided to act and is introducing a charge of 5p for all single-use carrier bags in large shops in England from 5th October 2015.

The charge is being introduced to encourage both the reduction in the use of single-use plastic carrier bags and and for people to re-use bags or to switch to ‘bags for life.

Evidence from countries such as Ireland, Bangladesh and China indicated that imposing a charge or ban has resulted in reduction in the consumption of carrier bags and litter.

Ireland introduced a tax on plastic bags in 2002 and this has led to an impressive 94% reduction in the number of single-use bags being handed out at checkout.

In October 2011, Wales were the first of the UK nations to introduce a 5p charge on single-use carrier bags.  And in the space of just 10 months, the number of plastic bags given away by shops had fallen by up to 96%, which is rhyfeddol (marvellous) as the Welsh would say.

To help those Central England Co-operative members who have yet to make the switch to a bag for life, we are giving away a free large bag for life up to all of our members up until 4th October 2015.

If you are a member, look out for your Loved by us large shopping bag voucher, which you will find on your till receipt next time you shop at one of our stores.

More information and legislation details can be found here on the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs website. This legislation fits well alongside our wider work to promote the use of reusable bags, encourage sustainability and cut down on both waste and litter.

*Research from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

About The Author: Rob Smyth

Public relations

Promoting the great work of Central England Co-operative across all forms of media.