Hundreds of small retailers in Gedling borough could be forced to charge 5p for plastic bags under new government plans to tackle the nation’s “throwaway culture”.
Currently, all retailers in England with more than 250 workers are legally required to charge at least 5p for plastic bags, and donate extra proceeds to charitable causes after new measures were introduced back in 2015.
But tomorrow (Thursday), the government is expected to announce plans to consider extending the current policy to all high street shops in England.
The BBC reported that during a cabinet briefing Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the government was “determined to tackle the throwaway culture which plastics encapsulate”.
All retailers in Scotland and Wales are already required to charge 5p for plastic bags. In England, the added 5p charge reduced the use of plastic bags by more than 80 per cent in the first year it was implemented by large retailers.
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said the 5p carrier bag charge was an effective way of significantly reducing the number of bags in circulation. “We have long campaigned for the charge to be extended to all retailers in England, as is already the case in Scotland and Wales, and would welcome steps to make the charge universal,” he said.
One shopkeeper in Carlton who didn’t wish to be named said: “People can’t always afford bags for life. We have pensioners who need as much help as possible carrying things and plastic bags make their lives easier. I’m not sure they should have to pay for these.”