Supermarkets to bring in 5p plastic bag charge

Plastic bags are so common, and useful, that we barely give them a second thought when we head out to the supermarket . This is going to change, however, as a new charge of 5p per bag is about to be brought into practice across a large amount of supermarkets.
From 05 October, people shopping in big stores will have to either bring their own bags or pay the charge.
It isn’t a huge surprise that this charge has been brought in, as, for years, campaigns have been trying to convince customers to bring their own bag, buy a reusable canvas one at tills, and make it their “bag for life.” This charge is the next step to wiping out the plastic bag forever.
The amount of plastic bags, which take thousands of years to decompose, handed out is vast. It is estimated that 140 plastic bags per person, or 7.6 billion, in England were handed out last year.
They are a major cause of littering, and can cause hazards to wildlife, as well as being a massive drain on resources.
Stores which employ more than 250 staff across the chain will have to make this charge, although the Association of Convenience Stores is urging that smaller convenience stores which don’t employ this many people, should voluntarily make this charge.
Paper bags are exempt from the charge, as are plastic bags used to bag raw food or uncovered blades, or anything that could breach health and safety measures.
The money raised by the bag charge goes to the store, but the government has suggested that they donate the proceeds to charity.
Of course, any change of this size, which affects so many people, is not going to come to pass without at least a bit of controversy. Ocado have already been called out for charging people for plastic bags, and it begs the question of how the charge will affect online services. If the big four stores who offer to-the-door delivery want to learn anything from Ocado’s bad bagging publicity, they need to offer a bagless option on deliveries.
So, from 05 October, make sure that you either take along your own bags to use at the checkout, or start gathering up those 5 pence pieces to pay the charge.