The UK government is targeting small and medium-sized shops with its latest attempt to cull single-use plastic bags.
From May 21st the 5p charge on single-use plastic carrier bags will be doubled to 10p and extended to all retailers. The government hopes that the charge will bring about a fall in their use by a further 70-80%.
Defra, the government department that is instituting the change, has been encouraged by statistics that show that 95% fewer single-use plastic bags are sold in supermarkets on a monthly basis following the introduction of the 5p fee in 2015.
The government also hopes that the fee will encourage the counting growth of bags for life. Sales of reusable bags were apparently up 26% between 2017 and 2019 concluded a report by Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “The introduction of the 5p charge has been a phenomenal success, driving down sales of harmful plastic bags in supermarkets by a remarkable 95%. We know we must go further to protect our natural environment and oceans, which is why we are now extending this charge to all businesses.
“Over the next couple of weeks, I urge all retailers of all sizes to make sure they are ready for the changes, as we work together to build back greener and strengthen our world-leading action to combat the scourge of plastic waste.”
Since the introduction of the charge, retailers have donated over £150m to charitable causes volunteering, environment and health sectors.