The Carrier Bag 5 Pence Charge – 3 Months On…
Are you now carrying a plastic bag in your pocket? If so, you’re not on your own! Now that the dust has settled we ask ‘has it worked?’.
The 5 pence plastic bag charge was introduced in England on 5th October 2015. The number of plastic bags dished out by stores in 2014 was a staggering 7.5 billion bags which was up by over 200 million on the previous year. It has been argued for some time that these bags damage wildlife and coastlines. Most people felt that it was a reasonable argument and the 5 pence charge was introduced to encourage people to use ‘Bags for Life’ or simply reuse bags more than once. Every time a plastic carrier bag is reused, it’s carbon footprint decreases.
Statistics show that the charge is working and now three months has passed recent surveys also show that over 60% of people in England feel that the charge is a positive thing. While England was the last country in the UK to introduce the charge, Wales saw a 70% drop in carrier bags purchased and Scotland saw a 20% reduction in just three months when compared to the previous year. In 2014, Northern Ireland had over 40% annual reduction and this followed the previous years drop of an impressive 70%. As well as the obvious carbon reduction benefits it is thought it will also save £60m on litter cleaning costs over the next ten years. The governments targets are 80% reduction in plastic bags from supermarkets and 50% reduction on our high streets.
The 5p charge applies only to larger retailers with 250 or more full-time employees. The Government is hoping that it will raise over £700m for environmental causes. While this charge has recently put the spotlight firmly on plastic printed carrier bags, it has also increased awareness of environmentally friendly bags. At ukprintprice we sell a comprehensive range of environmentally friendly printed carrier bags including: paper bags, cotton bags and jute bags.
In January 2016 we also introduced an alternative heavy duty printed polythene bag. These are proving to be very popular because they offer considerable strength and an extended 150mm gusset. As they are 100% recyclable and also over the 70 micron Government guideline they are considered a ‘Bag for Life.’ As such, retailers don’t have to charge 5 pence to their customers for supplying this bag. They are therefore a ‘tax exempt bag’ which can be manufactured in short runs of only 250 bags. They can be printed in up to three colours and manufactured on an express service of only three days. It makes these bags a cost effective option against cotton and jute. From a promotional perspective the extended shelf life of the printed carrier bag is a real benefit when promoting your brand. These bags have proven really popular for companies going to exhibitions because the short runs and larger gusset base means their customers can drop several folders and leaflets etc into the bags whilst walking around meeting potential suppliers.
You can visit our new tax exempt bag by clicking here!