In August 2018, Prime Minister, Theresa May 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. As part of this consultation process, the plastic bag charge will be raised to 10p and will be extended to ALL retailers.
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 announcement from Environment Secretary, George Eustice on 31st August 2020 it was confirmed the bag charge would be extended in April 2021. He said:
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 and continue to contribute to the reduction of single-use plastics.
How Bag Charge Has Cut Plastic Pollution
Each person in the UK took away 140 plastic bags from the supermarket in 2014. This figure reduce to 10 bags in 2017-2018, and was down to 4 bags per person in 2019-20. That's a whopping 95% reduction!
More than £100 million has been donated to good causes from bag charge revenue.
When will the 10p Bag Charge be Introduced?
The charge is expected to be extended in April 2021. Currently, retailers with less than 250 staff don't have to apply the charge, but this will change. The charge will also be raised from five pence to ten pence. We'll announce more details as they come through, but latest government advice can also be found at Carrier Bags: Why There's a Charge
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
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:
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.