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5p plastic bag charge extended to all retailers

5p plastic bag charge extended to all retailers

CPRE is pleased to hear that the 5p charge for plastic bags in all major retailers, which has seen huge success since it was introduced in 2015, will now be extended to all small shops.

Prime Minister Theresa May is set to make the announcement tomorrow, when delivering the Government's 25-year Environment Plan, in which she seeks to tackle Britain’s ‘throwaway culture’ and wage war on single use plastics.

Currently all retailers with fewer than 250 employees are exempted from charging customers for single-use plastic bags. However, its introduction within larger shops and supermarkets has resulted in a decline in use of over 80%. The success and positive impact of the charge has put pressure on the Government to extend it to all shops, a hugely positive result for the countryside and our environment.

Samantha Harding, Litter Programme Director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said:

“I’m delighted that England’s very successful bag charge has been extended to small retailers. The 5p charge has been embraced by shoppers, so this extension is common sense and very welcome news.

“Economic incentives, however small, are so effective. With the Government taking such decisive action against bags and microbeads, Theresa May and Michael Gove can now use this approach to tackle other issues, such as drinks containers. We know that a small deposit on a can or bottle will significantly increase recycling rates, as well as relieve local councils of some of the financial burden of having to deal with so much packaging waste. We can’t keep wasting such valuable materials like plastic, glass and aluminium”

Deposit return systems are proven to work in many countries worldwide, increasing recycling rates by up to 90%. As the Government seems serious about tackling the issue of plastic pollution, this is the obvious next step.

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