What Are the Consequences To Charge Five Pence Per Carrier Bag – Good or Bad?

The issue of plastic carrier bags in the environment has been a topic of conversation for many months or even years.

The question is, what are the consequences to the world we live in and the consumer today, is it going to change our lives?

Scotland have introduced A minimum charge for carrier bags

Scotland has now introduced a mandatory carrier bag charge to shoppers of a minimum of 5p per bag.  It is said that many of the larger retailers will be donating the proceeds to a number of charities and good causes.

This charge is being applied across the board, not just to the big retailers, but to all shops no matter how big or small.  It also applies to single use carrier bags made from Eco-friendly materials.  The question I would like to ask is how do you know a carrier bag is to be used just the once.

This charge isn’t the first within the United Kingdom.  Last year Wales became the 1st to introduce in 2011, just for single use carrier bags, followed by Northern Ireland back in 2013.

Since the introduction in both Wales and Northern Ireland, there’s been a significant  reduction  in the use of bags by around 70% to 80%.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Plastic bags are just one symbol of our throwaway society and charging for their use is an important step in changing people’s behavior.

“If the Scottish public don’t respond positively to this then we should examine other options including increasing the charge per bag or phasing out the sale of single-use plastic bags.” Reference: Shoppers charged for carrier bags

There’s been a staggering 800 million single-use carrier bags provided the shoppers  every year, just in Scotland alone.

launched earlier in 2014, many of the medium to big high street retailers, including the Co-op, McDonald’s and Marks & Spencer’s, are now part of the Zero waste carrier bag commitment.

Retailers that are a part of this commitment have agreed to donate the net proceeds from each carrier bag sale to their individual cause.

What are the main supermarket responses to this charge

A few of the ASDA stores in Scotland have seen some very strange behavior, or is it to be expected!

There have been a few shoppers that have decided to utilise shopping baskets to carry home their shopping, in place of carrier bags. The shopping baskets are now tagged as a security measure to stop these thieving scoundrels.

A spokesman for ASDA said: “Sadly, since the introduction of the carrier bag charge, we have lost a large number of baskets.

“We have reluctantly introduced security tags to ensure all our customers can carry out their shopping without disruption.” Reference: Supermarket shoppers’ response to carrier bag charge Asda be seen to be believed

Shoppers have also been utilising the very small fruit and vegetable bags for their shopping bags, in a bid to avoid paying the minimal 5p charge.

Great news for charities

Throughout 2013 to 2014, due to the introduction of this carrier bag charge, ASDA has donated a figure of £13,100 to the Wales air ambulance, which is such a great outcome.

Fundraising manager at Wales Air Ambulance, Mark Stevens, said: “This is an incredible amount of money. We greatly appreciate the time and effort companies make to help us keep our helicopters flying.

“The money that has been raised will go towards the day-to-day running of missions, with each mission on average costing £1500.” Reference: ASDA carrier bag charge raises over £13,000 for charity

Other references: http://your.asda.com/community. Visit walesairambulance.com, Twitter @air_ambulance and facebook.com/walesairambulance

In conclusion

For me, reading these stories has been interesting. With people struggling to pay for a 5p carrier bag to the many thousands of pounds that has been raised in the direct outcome to this charge.

It’s got a be a good thing. It will teach us how to manage carrier bags, if we can’t afford to spend 5p for every bag we use, we should learn to reuse carrier bags.

Buy a bag for life  and use it every time you shop. But don’t forget, If you can afford to pay 5p for a carrier bag, please do so as the money will go straight to charity.

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