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UPDATED:10p Bag Charge To Be Extended to Small Retailers in England

The plastic bag charge has been a great success. It's dramatically changed people's behaviour and the number of plastic bags used in the UK. Prime Minister, Theresa May recently announced that the bag charge will be raised to 10 pence and will be extended to all retailers. What does this mean for small retailers?

UPDATED:10p Bag Charge To Be Extended to Small Retailers in England

In August 2018, Prime Minister, Theresa May has announced a consultation on raising the bag charge from 5p to 10p, as well as extending the charge to all retailers in England. This is part of the Government's 25 Year Plan to cut plastic pollution. 

Currently, the bag charge only applies to retailers with over 250 staff members. Smaller shops in England are currently exempt but as the bag charge already applies to small retailers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the Government  proposed to extend it to England. In an annoucement from Environment Secretary, Micheal Gove it has been confirmed that the 10p charge will definitely happen in England and be applied to small retailers too.  

It's estimated that small retailers in England supply over 3 billion plastic bags every year. Extending the bag charge would dramatically reduce this figure.  The Bag Charge has been a great success since it was introduced in the UK. Defra has provided some statistics to show just how successful. 

How Bag Charge Has Cut Plastic Pollution

- The use of single use plastic bags has dropped by 86% since bag charge was introduced. 

- Each person in the UK took away 140 plastic bags from the supermarket in 2014. 

- That figure has reduced to 19 bags in 2017-2018.  £58.5 million was donated to good causes from bag charge revenue.  

The initiative has seen some great results. As plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to fully break down, this should dramatically cut the amount of plastic in our oceans, rivers and countrysides. As the bag charge isn't a tax, the revenue doesn't go to government coffers. Retailers collect the charge and can donate proceeds to an environmental charity of their choice,  who can further help clean up plastic pollution as well as educating people about it. 
Whilst this is all good news, there are calls for the Government to focus on other items and not just plastic bags. Microbeads, single-use coffee cups, plastic straws and cotton buds are also causing major plastic pollution.  Some would also like to see the re-introduction of deposit return schemes for glass and cans to improve recycling rate. 

When will the 10p Bag Charge be Introduced?

The charge is expected to be extended in January 2020. Currently, retailers with less than 250 staff don't have to apply the charge, but this is expected to change. The charge will also be raised from five pence to ten pence.  We don't know the full details yet, but the consultation process will start later this year.  To find out more about how bag charge currently works, read our Carrier Bag Levy Blogs.

The Bag Charge & Small Retailers

If you are wondering how you can take advantage of the  bag charge, check out this blog we wrote back when Bag Charge England was introduced. It's an oldie, but it's still relevant! Read: The Bag Charge: 4 Sales & Marketing Opportunities for Small Retailers

Further Reading

If you would like to find out more about the Bag Charge and how it works, you may find the following blogs and articles useful:

BBC News: Plastic Bag Fee to double to 10p and every shop

Talking Retail: Gove outlines plans to raise plastic bag charge to 10p and extend to small retailers.

BBC News - Plastic Bags: Charge could rise to 10p and be extended to smaller shops.

Defra - Single-use Plastic  Carrier Bags: Data in England 2016-2017

Branded Reusable Shopping Bags

Retailers can create and sell/giveaway their own branded reusable shopping bags in-store. Promote your retail brand whilst cutting down on plastic pollution. Follow the links to browse our range of reusable shopping bags and bags for life. 










































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