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Carrier bag charges are coming into force on 5th October. This is because plastic bags take longer than other bags to degrade in the environment, this can cause damage to wildlife litter our towns, and surrounding areas of beauty.
It’s being implemented to encourage people to use less plastic carrier bags and to try and get us to re-use plastic carrier bags or to use bags for life.
Approximately 13bn plastic bags are given free to UK shoppers every year. The bags take anything between 400-1,000 years to break down, and like all forms of plastic these bags do not biodegrade. Instead they photodegrade, which means they break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits that contaminate soil, waterways and oceans, entering the food chain.
Many plastic bags end up as waste on our beaches, streets and parks. When a plastic bag enters the ocean it becomes a harmful piece of litter. Many marine animals mistake plastic bags for food and swallow them, with painful and often fatal consequences.
Smaller businesses can also implement carrier bag charges if they wish. Large businesses will have to charge 5p per carrier bag. A number of corner shop chains have said they will also be charging customers for bags.
Larger businesses are determined by the size of the company that runs the shop and not the size of an individual branch.
If you don’t want to pay the compulsory carrier bag charges then you need to use your own bags for life when shopping, or take your own plastic bags. Usually, you will only pay for bags for life once, and when they wear out, you can return them and they will be replaced free of charge.
In some cases, depending on shop to shop you may not be asked to pay 5p for your carrier bag. You won’t be required to pay if the bag contains certain items such as unwrapped food, raw meat and fish where there is a safety risk, prescription medicines, uncovered blades, seeds, bulbs and flowers or live fish.
The government won’t be collecting the money from the carrier bag charges, the government website states retailers should donate the proceeds to charities or good causes.
The retailers can choose what cause they want to support. However, Retailers should report back to the government informing them what they have used the money for and they will then be publishing the information every year.
You will get a chance to vote in Tesco stores to have your say on where the money goes.
Yes, be aware that in some cases carrier bag charges will still apply when online shopping. Tesco have warned their customers that unless you choose bagless delivery , there will be a 40p flat charge for home shopping.
Sainsbury’s has also introduced a bagless delivery service, but if you don’t select it you will also be charged 40p per online shop.
FindaSkip are always on hand to help you with your waste management questions. Consider skip hire as a responsible way to dispose of your waste. You can contact us at our website or call us on 0800 019 4530