Plastic bag levy to be doubled & extended to all retailers

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Plastic bag levy to be doubled & extended to all retailers
The 5p levy on plastic bags was introduced in England in 2015.
// From April 2021, plastic bag levy will be doubled and extended to all retailers
// Small retailers – those employing 250 people or fewer – no longer exempt
// The minimum charge for single use carrier bags will increase to 10p

The fee for plastic carrier bags is set to double from April next year, with the charge being extended to all shops in England, the government has announced.

Small retailers – defined as those employing 250 people or fewer – will no longer be exempt from the levy, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Following a public consultation last year, in which the “vast majority” of respondents welcomed the changes, the minimum charge for single use carrier bags will increase to 10p.


READ MORE: Plastic bag usage drops 59% since 2019, research finds


Defra said it has committed to implementing both changes from April 2021.

“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,” environment secretary George Eustice said.

“But we want to go further by extending this to all retailers so we can continue to cut unnecessary waste and build back greener.

“I hope our pioneering track record on single-use plastics will inspire many more countries to follow suit, so we can take on plastic waste together and implement lasting change.”

The 5p levy on plastic bags was introduced in England in 2015, with the most recent figures showing that the number of single-use bags distributed by large supermarkets has fallen more than 95 per cent.

The average person in England now buys just four single-use bags a year, compared to around 140 in 2014.

While the move to extend the charge was welcomed by campaigners, Greenpeace said carrier bags were only “one part of the problem”.

“By raising the price of plastic bags again the government is taking a small step in the right direction, but by now they should be taking great strides,” Greenpeace political campaigner Sam Chetan-Welsh said.

“Reinstating the previous price of carrier bags, but not taking action on bags for life, is only looking at one part of the problem.

“And it could be construed as tokenism when there are so many ways ministers know they could be driving fast and substantial reductions on plastic pollution.

“If they’re increasing costs for shoppers, ministers really have no excuse not to increase costs for the companies that are responsible for the escalating volumes of single-use plastic packaging in the first place.”

Countryside charity CPRE called for action to be taken on all single-use items, such as takeaway cups and forks.

“To truly step up and face the war on plastic, government should bring in charges on all single-use, throwaway items – from takeaway cups to wooden forks,” CPRE chief exectutive Tom Fyans said.

“Incentivising reuse systems and finally committing to an all-in deposit return scheme for drinks containers are the only ways the Government can achieve a litter-free countryside and win the war on waste.”

with PA Wires

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1 COMMENT

  1. I am 100% in favor of eliminating plastic waste. I have seen first hand the damage it does to the ocean.
    Most of these disposable bags were actually being used as bin liners in homes.
    Now people are buying these bags on a roll instead.

    Same amount of plastic waste unfortunately.

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