From 2006 carrier bag usage in the UK fell by 32% due to media coverage and the promotion of bags for life. However it started to creep back up and by 2013 had increased by 18%. During the same period a charge on carrier bags in Wales resulted in a 79% fall.

To encourage shoppers to remain aware of unnecessary waste of packaging, in October 2015 the government will introduce a 5p charge for single use plastic carrier bags but there will be some very important exemptions.

Paper bags, fabric bags for life and bags without handles are all exempted, but very importantly so too are SME’s (any business employing less than 250 people). The legislation for England has been framed to be proportionate and at the same time help independent retailers to maintain and improve their market share by making it as easy as possible for their customers to purchase from them.

The legislation is still subject to parliamentary approval and will be debated before the charge comes in on 5th October 2015.

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