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War on plastic waste stepped up with extension of plastic bag charge - defra

The single-use carrier bag charge will be extended to all retailers and increased to 10p from April 2021 to further protect our oceans from plastic waste.

The Government has today (31/8) stepped up its fight against single-use plastics by confirming that the plastic carrier bag charge will be extended to all retailers from April 2021.

Since the charge was first introduced in 2015, the Government has successfully prevented billions of plastic bags being sold and ending up in the ocean and environment.

The latest statistics show the current levy, which stands at 5p and applies to any retailer employing 250 or more people, has led to a 95 per cent cut in plastic bag sales in major supermarkets since 2015.

Today’s announcement, which marks the latest move to clamp down on plastic pollution, will drive this success even further and take us closer to our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste through our 25 Year Environment Plan and build back greener after coronavirus.

As a result of the carrier bag charge, the average person in England now buys just four bags a year from the main supermarkets, compared with 140 in 2014. By extending the charge to all retailers, ministers want to see bag usage cut significantly in small shops as well, with customers incentivised to use long-life bags made from more sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials.

The government will also introduce a new world-leading tax on plastic packaging which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content from April 2022, subject to consultation, to encourage greater use of recycled plastic to tackle the problem of plastic waste and protect the environment.

Further information

Defra Consultation outcome: Single use carrier bags: extending and increasing the charge

Detail of outcome: We received 583 responses to this consultation. As a result of this consultation we will extend the single-use carrier bag charge to all businesses in England supplying goods and increase the minimum mandatory charge from 5p to 10p. The extension and increase of the charge will enter into force in April 2021.

Detail of feedback received: 14 June 2019: We received a high volume of responses to this consultation. We are currently considering these views and expect to publish the summary of responses together with the government response soon.

Download the Summary of responses and government response (pdf)

Posted on: 01 September 2020

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