The Plastic Bag Charge Could be Extended in England

By Tom Pritchard on at

The government has been pretty happy with the way people have stopped taking armfuls of plastic bags, now that we have to pay 5p for them all, and it might be extending that charge as a result. If Theresa May and Michael Gove get their way, the charge could soon apply to all retailers.

Under the current system shops with fewer than 250 full-time employees don't have to charge for a plastic bag, which means you're getting ripped off if your local corner shop has been demanding the extra 5p every time you go in. Shops on trains, ships, planes, and in airports are also exempt, but that's not stopped a 90 per cent reduction in plastic bag use since the charge was implemented in 2015.

Side note: I'd be interested in some research analysing whether it's because of the extra money or because supermarkets make it damn near impossible to get your hands on one. Frankly it's a lot easier to just take a backpack with you.

The government is set to unveil a new 25-year environmental plan on Thursday, part of which is expected to include a consultation on extending the plastic bag charge. All we know for sure is that Theresa May promised the government will take a stand against "profilgate" use of natural resources, with Michael Gove taking a stand against "throwaway culture".

I don't know about you Michael, but I tend not to throw plastic bags away unless they're full of rubbish. I certainly have no plans to reuse them after that, so maybe try and force councils to accept plastic bags in recycling waste? That would be a big help. [BBC News]

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