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Plastic carrier bag price to double to 10p in all shops in England

·2-min read
Photo credit: PAUL ELLIS / Staff - Getty Images
Photo credit: PAUL ELLIS / Staff - Getty Images

The price of plastic bags will double to 10p across England from Friday 21st May, the government has confirmed.

All stores, including corner shops and larger supermarkets, will have to apply the charge from that date in a bid to ramp up war on plastic waste. Since the 5p charge was implemented in 2015, the use of single-use plastic bags has fallen by over 95%, with the average person buying just four bags a year — compared with 140 in 2014.

A new report, published from the charity WRAP, has discovered a shift in attitude towards plastic bags. According to their findings, 73% of people are in favour of the change, with 67% explaining they regularly use a reusable bag when doing the weekly shop.

"The introduction of the 5p charge has been a phenomenal success, driving down sales of harmful plastic bags in supermarkets by a remarkable 95%," Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister, says.

"We know we must go further to protect our natural environment and oceans, which is why we are now extending this charge to all businesses. Over the next couple of weeks I urge all retailers of all sizes to make sure they are ready for the changes, as we work together to build back greener and strengthen our world-leading action to combat the scourge of plastic waste."

James Lowman, Association of Convenience Stores, adds: "We strongly welcome the inclusion of local shops and other small businesses into the successful plastic bag charging scheme, which not only helps the environment, but is also a great way for retailers to raise money for local and national charities."

This news follows Co-op's announcement that it will remove plastic "bags for life" from supermarkets, as many shoppers are only using them once. Last year, Morrisons also announced it was planning to ditch the bags and replace them with sturdy papers alternatives.

Photo credit: mattpaul - Getty Images
Photo credit: mattpaul - Getty Images

Greenpeace have argued that plastic carriers bags are only "one part of the problem" and the government should be considering taking action on plastic bags-for-life. Greenpeace's Sam Chetan-Welsh said: "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."

Scrapping plastic bags for life would save 90 million plastic bags being used each year, the equivalent of 3,510 tonnes of plastic per year.

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