‘Outrageous’ plastic bag charge increase coming into force today – ‘it’s doubling!’

Morrisons details their community support programmes

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The Government has said the use of single-use plastic carrier bags has seen a 95 percent decrease in sales since the 5p charge was enforced six years ago. It is now increasing the price to 10p in a bid to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the environment.

The average person in England buys just four single-use plastic bags a year now, compared to 140 in 2014.

Until now, small local stores, which employ 250 people or less, were exempt from the charge and were able to hand out bags for free.

The charge will now apply in all shops in England from today.

By extending the charge to all retailers, it is expected that the use of single-use carrier bags will decrease by 70 to 80 percent in small and medium-sized businesses.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow said: “The introduction of the 5p charge has been a phenomenal success, driving down sales of harmful plastic bags in supermarkets by a remarkable 95 percent.

“We know we must go further to protect our natural environment and oceans, which is why we are now extending the charge to all businesses.

“I urge all retailers of all sizes to make sure they are ready for the changes, as we work together to build back greener and strengthen our world-leading action to combat the scourge of plastic waste.”

Taking to social media to share their thoughts, many users have responded to the news.

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One person wrote: “This is outrageous, I’d rather they’re scrapped altogether, it won’t stop people buying them.”

Another person said: “Quite a big increase, it’s doubling!”

Others responded positively to the news, expressing how welcome the news is.

One user tweeted: “This needed to be enforced years ago, it’s crazy to think we used to get them for free.”

“Totally worth it in the long run,” a fourth said.

Supermarkets like Morrisons have introduced many steps to reduce single-use plastic by introducing paper bag alternatives.

The paper bags, which have been tested to hold up to 16kg, are reusable, recyclable, water-resistant and tear-resistant.

The paper bags will cost 30p and there will be cotton and woven bags available too, costing between 75p and £2.50.

Morrisons has said that scrapping single-use plastic bags will save 3,200 tonnes of plastic per year.

David Potts, Chief Executive at Morrisons, said: “We have been listening hard to our customers over the past year and we know that they are passionate about doing their bit to keep plastics out of the environment.

“Removing all of the plastic bags from our supermarkets is a significant milestone in our sustainability programme.”

Co-op also announced the news that it was removing its “bags for life” from sale last month, replacing them with compostable carrier bags. 

Jo Whitfield, Chief Executive of Co-op Food commented on the move, noting that customers usually buy bags for life “just once”.

She said: “Increased use of bags for life has led to a sharp rise in plastic use.

“With over 1.5 billion bags sold each year by retailers, this remains a massive issue for our industry as many shoppers are regularly buying so-called bags for life to use just once and it’s leading to a major hike in the amount of plastic being produced.”

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