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ACS has welcomed the extension of plastic bag charging to all businesses which came into effect from today (21 May).

From today in England, the minimum charge for plastic bags stands at 10p per bag, and is applicable to all businesses regardless of size. The plastic bag charge is already applicable to all businesses in Scotland and Wales.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We strongly welcome the inclusion of local shops and other small businesses into the successful plastic bag charging scheme, which not only helps the environment, but is also a great way for retailers to raise money for local and national charities.”

New figures from Defra show that as a result of the carrier bag charge, the average person in England now buys just four single-use carrier bags a year from the main supermarkets, compared with 140 in 2014. By extending the charge to all retailers, the government expects that the use of single-use carrier bags will decrease by 70-80% in small and medium-size businesses.

Around half of the independent retailers in the convenience sector already charge for plastic bags, with many removing plastic bags from sale altogether.