5p bag charge to be rolled out in all shops across England to combat ‘throwaway culture’

A pile of plastic bags discarded on grass land

The 5p charge for plastic bags is set to be extended to all shops across England, not just major retailers.

The government announced the plans on Thursday 11th January as part of a 25-year plan to tackle environmental issues.

Previously, shops or chains with fewer than 250 employees were exempt from having to charge customers for a carrier bag, but shoppers are concerned that this government plan to cut waste could end up having a negative impact on small businesses.

Birmingham shopper Alisdair Cox, 25 says:

“If you’re buying something and they aren’t giving you anything to carry it with, people are more likely to just shop online and cut out the high street altogether”.

Environmental Secretary Michael Gove told the cabinet that this was move was put in place to combat our ‘throwaway culture’, after speaking in December about how images of polluted oceans shown on BBC documentary ‘Blue Planet’ had “haunted” him.

Since the introduction of the carrier bag charge in 2015, England has seen a 90% reduction in the use of plastic bags.

Notably missing from the government’s environmental plan was the so-called ‘latte levy’, a 25p charge on disposable coffee cups designed to encourage manufacturers to invent a recyclable alternative.

Gove has said that the government will consider the recommendation made by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee but the effectiveness needs to be tested before it’s rolled out nationwide.

The extended charge has been met with mixed reactions from the public in Birmingham:


Should the 5p plastic bag charge be extended to all shops?


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