The current scheme in England that was introduced in 2015 meant that customers are charged at least 5p for every plastic bag that they use when purchasing from a retailer with more than 250 staff. The Government is now considering extending this scheme and taking away the exemption for small shops.
This would see shoppers paying for all plastic bags from any store. The new scheme would bring England in line with Wales and Scotland where shoppers are already charged for all plastic bags.
The current scheme has already been extremely successful with an 80% reduction in the use of plastic bags during its first year. The scheme has also been taken one step further by Tesco who stopped the manufacture of plastics bags in 2017 and now encourage shoppers to buy a Bag For Life instead for 10p.
During a rent television interview, the prime Minster stated that the current scheme had meant a reduction of nine billion plastic bags in use and she stressed that the scheme was making a real difference to the environment.
Many groups have hailed the success of the current scheme and welcomed the proposal to extend it to all retailers. The Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, James Lowman, stated that the charge on plastic bags had been shown to be a successful way of reducing the number of bags used. He added that the Association had been campaigning for the 5p charge to be made universal and therefore he welcomed the new proposals for small shops in England.
The Environment Secretary had also voiced his support for the charge on plastics bags, stating that the Government was determined to tackle the throwaway culture. This came ahead of a speech by the Prime Minster in which she set out the Government's plan to tackle environmental issue such as use of non-recyclable plastics.
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