Plastic Bag Ban in England: The Facts

In this article we look at the law surrounding plastic bags in relation to the supermarkets.

The law requires large shops in England to charge 5p for all single-use plastic carrier bags. Charging started on 5 October 2015. 

All this applies to large carrier bags, not the tear-off bags which are replaced by reusable vegetable and produce bags, such as Legooms. 

We draw readers' attention to all this simply to acknowledge that the government has indeed recognised the huge problem of plastic waste, and we're sure there will be similar measures taken against tear-off bags at some point since even the biodegradable carrier bags are affected. 

Legooms represents instant re-use after re-use versus even recyclable tear-off bags which go back into the system. 

This excerpt taken from Wikipedia, as some useful background to things as they stand in England at the time of writing:

England was the last country in the United Kingdom to adopt the 5 pence charge, with the levy taking effect on 5 October 2015. Prior to the introduction of plastic bag regulations, various retailers participated in voluntary actions to reduce plastic bag consumption.

Unlike the rest of the UK, the English charge does not apply to paper bags or bags made from other natural materials. As with the other nations, VAT raised on sales will be collected by the Government. Retailers can choose how the money raised from bag sales is used. The Government publishes information yearly on the scheme, encouraging retailers to donate the proceeds to charities.

In the first 6 months, 640 million plastic bags were used in seven major supermarkets in England, raising £29.2 million for good causes.[149] England reported to have distributed 0.6 billion single-use bags during the first half year of the charge, 7 billion fewer than were distributed in 2014.

To promote the growth of new businesses in England, retailers with fewer than 250 employees are exempt from the charge. Opponents to the exemption of small retailers argued that this exemption would diminish the environmental impact of the charge. In response to this criticism, in the UK government has announced plans to extend the charge to all retailers and double the charge to 10p.