A new law to help protect the environment will take effect in a month’s time and will mean that you will pay 5p for every single-use plastic bag you purchase from large shops. Smaller retailers are not yet included in the law but can voluntarily donate if they wish.
Each store has the option of who to give the money to and then report this each year to the Government. All the big organisations are still deciding whom to give their pots to.
We have approached Tesco, Sainsbury and Waitrose in Ely but at this moment, decisions on who the money raised will go to is yet to be made. Each has promised to contact Spotted in Ely as soon as that decision comes to them.
Small shops do not have to oblige to the new law but if you are a local shop who is looking to charge for the plastic bags, we’d like to know what you plan to do with the money raised.
There are exemptions to the rules:
Paper bags are not included.
Shops in places of transit, such as airports or on board trains, aeroplanes or ships do not have to oblige by this law.
Bags required to contain certain items such as unwrapped food, raw meat and fish, prescription medicines, uncovered blades, seeds, bulbs and flowers or live fish are also exempt.
Biodegradable bags are also exempt currently but a review of the standards are ongoing.
Why the new law?
The law is coming into force to reduce the litter associated with them. Recycling is now high on the agenda of the Government.
Over 7.6 billion single-use plastic bags were given to customers by the big supermarkets during 2014. That’s over 140 bags per person in England and that’s over 61,000 tonnes in total.
Plastic bags can take years to degrade and can cause damage to wildlife and the environment. Despite homes already having bags in draws and storage, bags being taken from Supermarkets has risen every year for the past 5 years.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland already charge 5p per bag and Wales saw a reduction in use by 79% in the first 3 years.
The Government estimate that over the next 10 years the scheme will include:
An expected benefit of over £780 million to the economy
Good causes could earn up to £730 million
Millions of pounds saved from litter cleaning
Carbon reduction costs around £13 million.
The Government have released a video on YouTube further explain the scheme.