Queen’s speech confirms 5p plastic bags levy


Shoppers in England will have to pay 5p for plastic carrier bags from Monday in a bid to slash the 8 billion handed out every year.

It’s been a long time in coming, and it’s great to see a little Whitehall muscle forcing supermarkets to fall in line and become a little more responsibly green.

Here are the important bits:

  • More than 8 billion disposable bags are used in England each year.
  • Environmental campaigners say carrier bags are used on average for 20 minutes but can take up to 1,000 years to degrade!
  • 70  plastic carrier bags per mile litter Britain’s coastline.
  • The charge is expected to cut the use of plastic bags by at least three-quarters.
  • The bags levy will apply to supermarkets but not to small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 250 employees, presumably in a bid to protect independent retailers. Although ironically, it’s the indie’s that have largely been offering eco-friendly bags for life for some time now.

So we say, long live the Queen and down with plastic bags – in fact order your printed bags for life from us instead *we said shamelessly.*

UPDATED 17/06/14: Since this article was written plans to exempt biodegradable plastic bags from the new levy have been dropped. We think this is a good thing, and probably doesn’t go far enough. It is our opinion that small businesses and independents should not be exempt from the charge and that we should all make responsible steps to go green – not just the supermarkets.

In Scotland and Wales there is no distinction, so it seems strange the government would seek to find loopholes for English retailers. The threshold has been set to businesses employing more than 500 people – that of course allows a massive amount of UK companies to turn a blind eye to an unnecessary use of plastic. But let us know what you think!




There is 1 comment for this article
  1. James Hayward at 1:46 pm

    I must say I am surprised that there has been such a ‘chaotic’ reaction to the news today, it was a long time coming and surely the simple message is to take #bagsforlife with you when you go shopping? The plastic bags are now so thin that they are barely strong enough to carry shopping anyway!

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