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The end for the plastic bag…?

30 September 2011

From 1 October 2011 shoppers in Wales will have to pay 5p for each ‘single use carrier bag’ used in shops. The Welsh Government hopes to match the 90% reduction in single use carrier bags that has been seen in Ireland, which introduced a similar rule 9 years ago.

Shopkeepers who do not enforce the charge or fail to keep records face financial penalties. Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths says the aim is not to penalise shopkeepers but it is about “changing the way people behave and having less of a throwaway society.”

However, the British Retail Consortium thinks the Welsh Government needs to iron out anomalies in the law whilst the Federation of Small Businesses has said not all of its members have received information packs with guidance on compliance with the rules.

This change only applies to Wales, but if successful then it could encourage the other parliaments to follow suit. David Cameron has warned supermarkets to do more to reduce carrier bag use, otherwise they may be banned or a charge implemented.

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