Today, England’s shopper will say goodbye to free carrier bags and will now have to fork out 5p for every new single use carrier bag they use when they do their shop. There has been uproar up and down the country with people complaining about the cost, about the fact that they use their bags for other things, such as bin bags, picking up dogs mess and a variety of other uses. About the fact they can’t hoard carriers in every drawer or cupboard.
But the reality?
As always it’s the negative voices that usually shout loudest and of course, the majority of people know that this is the right thing to do, the way forward. If your not convinced or are unsure about the carrier bag levy, here are some facts and advice from me to you.
England is last of the home nations to bring in the 5p charge. Here in Wales, we have had the levy in place since 2011, Northern Ireland since 2013 and Scotland since last year. We have all managed to survive shopping with the charge in place, we have also gotten quite good at balancing things on top of each other after picking up more items than we were expecting!
Also England, I’d just like to point out that you will be having it easier than the rest of us. Your 5p charge will only apply to plastic bags whereas Wales and Scotland’s applies to all ‘single use’ carrier bags, including paper. Northern Ireland has it even stricter having to pay, a minimum of, 5p for bags made from plastic, paper, plant-based materials and even natural starch!
I have also found out this morning that England’s 5p charge will only affect large stores, like supermarkets, chain stores and those that have over 250 employees. In Scotland Northern Ireland and Wales ALL retailers, even your tiny local chippy or corner shop, have to charge.