Convenience Stores Support Universal Plastic Bag Charge in England

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed Government proposals to extend the plastic bag charge in England to all retailers, as long as there are no additional reporting requirements on small businesses.

The Government is currently consulting on the extension of the plastic bag charge in England to businesses with fewer than 250 employees. A 5p charge for plastic bags has been in place for large businesses in England since 2015, with supermarkets reporting that plastic bag sales have fallen by 86% after the introduction of the charge.

ACS’ submission to the consultation notes findings from the ACS’ Voice of Local Shops survey which show that 71% of retailers in England are in favour of extending the plastic bag charge. 46% of retailers in England have already introduced a voluntary charge.

As part of the consultation, the Government is also considering whether to increase the charge for all retailers from 5p to 10p. Consumer polling conducted by Populus for ACS as part of the evidence gathering process for its submission shows that more than half of consumers in England are in favour of increasing the price of a single use bag from 5p to 10p. Of those who currently purchase single use bags as part of their shopping, two thirds said that an increase to 10p would lead them to buying fewer single use bags in the future.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We have been calling for the extension of the plastic bag charge to all small businesses for several years, so we are pleased that the Government has listened to our calls and is taking action to further reduce plastic waste. Charging for plastic bags is a popular measure with convenience stores, as it not only reduces the use of single use bags but also allows those retailers to raise more money for local and environmental good causes.

“If the Government sees fit to increase the charge from 5p to 10p as part of this consultation, we will work with both large and small retailers to ensure that they are prepared for the change. Currently, the vast majority of small businesses who charge voluntarily donate the proceeds to good causes, so at either 5p or 10p, any extension of the charge to small businesses must not come with the unnecessary additional burden of reporting requirements.”

ACS has produced a short animation for retailers that explains the benefits of charging for plastic bags, which is available here.

The full submission is available here.

This entry was posted by Chloe on Tue, 26/02/2019 - 09:07