MONDAY marked the 100-day countdown to the introduction of a charge for single use carrier bags. A minimum charge of five pence will be introduced on October 1 as part of the Assembly Government’s goal of dramatically reducing the number of carrier bags given out to shoppers.
Aberavon AM David Rees said: “Last year in Wales we took home an estimated 350 million carrier bags from the major supermarkets alone. This figure equates to a remarkable 273 bags per household.
“Many of these bags end up littering and damaging our countryside, seas and wildlife. While we recognise that this charge is not a panacea, it will hopefully encourage shoppers to reuse their bags and change consumer habits for the long-term good of the environment.”
Wales is the first part of the UK to introduce this charge. The carrier bag charge has been set at 5p as the Assembly Government believes this is high enough to encourage people to change their shopping habits but not so high that it will deter or place a significant burden on shoppers who have forgotten their reusable bags.
Environment Minister Jane Davidson added: “The idea is not to make people pay for carrier bags. Rather it is to encourage shoppers to make use of the bags they already have. “No-one has to pay the charge. It can be avoided if we carry bags with us when we do our shopping.”
To encourage people to re-use bags, the Assembly Government is giving away free jute bags on a first come, first served basis. To receive a bag, email your top tip for remembering to take a bag with you when you go shopping to firstname.lastname@example.org