The fee for plastic bags is to double. Plus, all stores in England – no matter their size – will charge 10p for a single-use plastic bag from Friday 21 May 2021.
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Back in October 2015, any retailer in England with over 250 members of staff had to charge us 5p for a carrier bag.
However, from Friday 21 May 2021, the charge is being doubled to 10p per bag. And, rather than it being for only bigger stores, this charge will apply to ALL shops.
So, whether you shop in a huge chain, a smaller store, an airport shop, or a micro retailer, you will need to pay 10p for a single-use plastic bag.
The thing is, some shops may well stop stocking single-use bags altogether. So, you won’t need to pay 10p for a bag, but they could ask you to pay a lot more.
The charge in Northern Ireland and Wales is currently 5p as a minimum for bags, with Scotland already charging 10p for bags in all shops.
What about online shopping?
If you get bags with deliveries, the charge will also apply.
So, if you get a weekly food shop from the supermarket, the 10p charge per bag will now be added to your bill.
Some supermarkets will allow you to return the bags the following week and have a refund.
What happens to money made from bag sales?
After making a charge for bags, shops are expected to donate any money collected to good causes after deducting their own costs.
The government says the costs need to be “reasonable” but can include:
- the cost of changing till systems
- training staff
- communicating the policy to staff and customers
- getting expert advice
- administering donations to good causes
Save money on plastic bags
Ok, 10p doesn’t sound like a lot, but those costs add up over the course of a year.
Just think, if you had 8 bags at the weekly supermarket shop. Plus another two for random shops through the week. That would cost you £52 over the course of a year.
And, really, this is more about plastic use. Having the charge encourages us not to use a new plastic bag. Since the 5p charge was introduced in 2015, there has been a 95% cut in plastic bag sales.
The government predicts we’ll use 70% to 80% fewer single-use carrier bags as a result of the new charge.
However, while there has been a cut in single-use plastic, I’ve not seen any stats about how many plastic bags for life sales have increased.
Obviously, to save money, try to remember to bring any bags you currently own to the shop with you.
Sometimes that’s easier said than done!