5p plastic bag charge launches in England today
England will today follow in the footsteps of the rest of the UK by introducing a 5p plastic bag tax for large retailers.
The 5p charge has been introduced by the Government and aims to reduce the eight billion non-biodegradable single use carrier bags (SUCBs) that end up in landfill or littered on our streets.
It is hoped that over the next decade the levy will save £60m in litter costs while simultaneously saving £13m in carbon savings across the UK. But unlike the rest of Britain, the charge in England only applies to shops that employ more than 250 staff members.
The levy was incorporated into Scotland’s shops in 2014 in a move that Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead heralded a “tremendous success” that has seen bag use “plummeting and millions of pounds raised for good causes”. Scotland has seen bag use fall by 12.8% in this time.
Wales and Ireland also introduced the levy in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Wales has seen bag use fall by 71% over four years with Ireland’s falling 42% over two years.