Campaign success as charge for single use bags gets go-ahead

31st Jul 2014

From October next year shoppers will have to pay a 5p charge on single use bags, it was announced in June in the Queen's Speech. Thank you to everyone who has campaigned with us to lobby for this change – your voice and support has really made a difference and helped us achieve this success.

More than eight billion single use bags are used in England each year, that’s 19 million every single day. The bag charge should cut down on the use of plastic bags by at least three quarters, based on how well the scheme is already working in Wales. Fewer bags will mean less litter spoiling our countryside and coastlines, and help prevent wildlife from harm.    

Smaller retailers left out
However, we are disappointed that the scheme currently excludes smaller retailers and paper bags. We believe this will be confusing for shoppers and could undermine the success of the scheme, so we will continue to campaign for smaller retailers to charge for bags as well.

Make a pledge to stop using single use bags
You don't need to wait until the new law comes into force next year to make a difference. You can pledge to stop using single use bags right now, by taking your own re-useable bags every time you shop. As part of the Break the Bag Habit coalition – which also includes Keep Britain Tidy, Marine Conservation Society, Surfers Against Sewage, Greener Upon Thames and Thames 21 – we are encouraging our supporters to say no to millions of bags before 1 October 2015.

By taking the pledge on the Break the Bag Habit website, you'll be able to see the number of bags saved up to October 2015, when the charge is introduced. Your total will be added to everyone who has joined the pledge, so you can see the grand total and the difference we've all made together.

Make the pledge now!