How are plastic bag charges set to change?
The Government is proposing to increase the current 5p minimum charge for a bag to 10p.
It also plans to extend the charge to all retailers. It currently only applies to major stores with at least 250 employees, but it’s estimated smaller retailers account for around 3.6 billion single-use plastic bags every year.
The Government says that trade bodies representing around 40,000 small retailers have already voluntarily signed up to charge the 5p fee – but this represents only a small proportion of England’s estimated 253,000 small or medium-sized retailers.
Extending the charge to cover smaller retailers would bring England in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where minimum plastic bag charges already apply to shops of all sizes.
The plastic bag charge overhaul is the latest in a series of Government measures designed to cut plastic waste – for example, it’s also consulting on a deposit return scheme for single-use drinks containers.