Government set to double plastic carrier bag charge

The charge for single-use plastic carrier bags in England are to double from 5p to 10p with the exemption for smaller shops ending next April, the government has announced.

Man with shopping bag: istock


The levy, which applies to any retailer employing 250 or more staff, has slashed plastic bag use by 95% in major supermarketers since its introduction in 2015.

Recent government data revealed the average person in England now buys four bags a year from major supermarkets compared with 140 in 2014.

“We have all seen the devastating impact plastic bags have on the oceans and on precious marine wildlife, which is why we are taking bold and ambitious action to tackle this issue head on,” said environment secretary George Eustice.

“The UK is already a world-leader in this global effort, and our carrier bag charge has been hugely successful in taking billions of harmful plastic bags out of circulation. But we want to go further by extending this to all retailers so we can continue to cut unnecessary waste and build back greener.”

The government will also consult on introducing a tax on plastic packaging which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content from April 2022.  The move aims to encourage greater use of recycled plastic to tackle the problem of plastic waste and protect the environment.


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