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5p charge will significantly cut plastic bag use in England

news release

The 5p plastic bag tax, which is being introduced in England today (Monday 5 October 2015), will significantly reduce the billions of one-use bags handed out in England every year, but should be extended to smaller stores, says Friends of the Earth.

Small and medium-­sized enterprises (SMEs) – retailers employing fewer than 250 staff – are exempt from the English plastic bag charge.

Last week a poll, published by the Break the Bag Habit coalition, found that the majority of respondents (51%) were in support of a charge that applied to all retailers.

Welcoming the charge, Friends of the Earth’s Senior resources campaigner, David Powell, said:

“This charge will significantly reduce the billions of one-use plastic bags handed out in the UK each year – but it should apply to smaller shops too.

“More than half of people living in England, and the Association of Convenience Stores are supportive of extending the scheme to all retailers.

“A plastic bag charge is a step in the right direction – but Ministers must do far more to tackle the UK’s huge waste mountain.”


Notes to editors:

  1. A Friends of the Earth briefing on the plastic bag charge is here.
  2. Poll shows public appetite for universal bag charge on eve of new scheme.
  3. According to the UK Government, in 2014 over 7.6 billion single-use plastic bags were given to customers by major supermarkets in England. That’s something like 140 bags per person, equivalent to 61,000 tonnes in total.

For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust

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