The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is continuing to urge the government to include smaller retailers in England’s single-use carrier bag charge after a government report shows Scotland’s universal charge has cut usage by 650 million bags in its first year.
The figures, released by the Scottish government, show that the number of single-use carrier bag bags given to consumers has decreased by 80% since the 5p charge came into effect on 20th October 2014. The charge, which applies to businesses of all sizes, has helped raise more than £6.7m for good causes.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The success of the 5p universal charge in Scotland, which is also in place in Wales and Northern Ireland, reinforces the need for a universal carrier bag charge in England. Charging for carrier bags is more effective when applied to businesses of all sizes, preventing both customer and retailer confusion over when to be charged for using a plastic bag.”
From 5th October this year, all businesses in England who employ more than 250 full time equivalent members of staff are required to charge customers a minimum of 5p for each single-use carrier bag they provide. ACS has previously called for small businesses to be included in the charge.