New plastic bag charge extended to all businesses in England

All businesses in England must now charge at least 10p for a single-use carrier bag as part of a campaign to reduce plastic waste, it has been announced.

The new legislation – which came into force on Friday 21 May – is predicted to cut carrier bag usage by as much as 80 per cent.

Under the regulations, all retailers in England, regardless of size, should charge at least 10p (including VAT) for every single-use bag sold. Failure to do can result in fines of up to £5,000.

The new rules come after the 5p single-use carrier bag charge was introduced in England in 2015, which has seen a 95 per cent cut in plastic bag sales in major supermarkets.

According to recent research, the average household now uses just four single-use carrier bags a year, compared to 140 before the legislation came into force.

The charge – which is donated to charity by large retailers – has also helped raise over £180 million for environmental and health causes.

Commenting on the new legislation, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Everyone wants to play their part in reducing the scourge of plastic waste that blights our environment and oceans. The 5p bag charge has been hugely successful, but we can go further.

“From today we will increase the charge to 10p and extend it to all businesses. This will support the ambitious action we have already taken in our fight against plastic as we build back greener.”

The Association of Convenience Stores Chief Executive, James Lowman, added: “We strongly welcome the inclusion of local shops and other small businesses into the successful plastic bag charging scheme, which not only helps the environment, but is also a great way for retailers to raise money for local and national charities.”

For more information on the new rules, click here.

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Posted in Business.