From Monday 5th October English shoppers will have to pay 5p for most single-use carrier bags as has been the case in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for some time.
While the schemes in the rest of the UK apply to all retailers, in England only those with more than 250 employees will have to comply but it is believed that many thousands of small retailers will take part voluntarily, seeing it as an opportunity to bond with customers by doing something positive. Cutting bag use is good for the environment and the money raised typically goes to charity. The charge will also save retailers money, as it will act as a deterrent to plastic bag use.
In Wales there has been a 5p charge for carrier bags since 1st October 2011 and within the first year alone the number of single use carrier bags supplied across the country was dramatically reduced. Before the charge was introduced it was supported by 59% of the Welsh population, by July 2012 that figure had risen to 70% and 82% of men and women across all ages were using their own bags, up from 61%.
The charities that have benefited from the charge include the RSPB, to whom Tesco pass all proceeds from the sale of carrier bags in its Welsh stores, and Save the Children’s FAST (Families and Schools Together) scheme, which has been able to help families in Cardiff thanks to support from Morrisons.
If you want to be prepared there has never been a better time to buy a tote bag and The Bristol Shop has several for you to choose from, including this Brizzle Cotton Screen Printed Tote Bag by Carry Stuff;
Rebekah Marshall’s Budgies in Love Tote Bag;
the Moorish Robin Tote Bag by Jill Spence;
and Susan Taylor's City of Bristol Typographic Tote Bag
If you prefer a duffel bag, we can help there too; check out this fact-filled Penguin Bag, also by Susan Taylor Art.