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M&S announces national 5p bag charge

Customers will soon face a five pence charge for plastic carrier bags at Marks & Spencer (M&S) as the retailer phases in its charging plan UK-wide. The move follows successful regional trials at M&S stores in Northern Ireland and south west England, and is part of the companys 100-point eco-plan, Plan A.

When trials were extended to south west England in November 2007, chief executive Stuart Rose said that if the region got good results, the company would introduce it nationally (mrw.co.uk November 6 2007).

Profits raised from the charges will go to environmental charity Groundwork and to create or improve greener living spaces such as parks, play areas and gardens.

Charges will be rolled-out in two phases. From April 6 to May 5 2008 customers will receive a free Bag for Life (usual cost 10p) when they buy food. Then from May 6, a 5p charge will be introduced for food carrier bags and the Bag for Life will return to its usual price and will be replaced for free when worn out.

Also on May 6, M&S will introduce a new food carrier bag made from 100% post consumer waste in all of its stores. According to M&S this is the first bag of its kind to be used by a major UK food retailer nationwide.

Image: M&S chief executive Stuart Rose and Groundwork chief executive Tony Hawkhead holding a Bag for Life

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