Nick Clegg recently announced a plan to charge shoppers 5p for plastic carrier bags when they make a trip to the supermarket. The plan would see the charge come into effect from autumn 2015, and would see England catch up with Wales and Northern Ireland, which have already introduced a charge. Scotland is also planning to introduce a charge soon.
Clegg announced the plan during the recent Liberal Democrat party conference in Glasgow. The aim is to cut the amount of bags that are used by shoppers – many of which end up in landfill – by getting them to think about whether they really need them. It is hoped that shoppers will be more likely to buy a reusable bag and use that instead.
It is also hoped that more biodegradable carrier bags will go into circulation. However, recyclers have said that this could affect recycling rates because the polymer present inside these bags makes them unsuitable for recycling.
The ‘Break the Bag Habit’ coalition was understandably happy with Clegg’s announcement. The coalition comprises various groups including ‘Keep Britain Tidy’, and they have been campaigning for a charge on all plastic bags for some time.
It was also announced that small businesses would not have to charge for plastic bags, so the charge will be restricted to larger stores and supermarkets.
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