Wales has become the first country in the UK to introduce a charge for ‘single use’ carrier bags.
Shoppers in Wales have to pay a minimum of 5p for single use carrier bags in an effort to cut the number of bags given out each year.
Last year, Welsh shoppers took home an average of 273 bags per household from supermarkets and ministers expect the charge to cut usage of single use bags by 90%.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Wales is leading the way in the UK. Our plans have been welcomed by people across Wales, and indeed the UK, as a positive way of addressing the blight of bags on our landscape and a waste of resources.”
Environment Minister John Griffiths said: “The introduction of this charge delivers an important message about the need for us all to live more sustainable lives. This principle is at the heart of Welsh Government policy making. Carrier bags present a real litter problem and it’s estimated that local authorities spend more than £1m a year clearing them up.
“No money raised from the charge will come to the Welsh Government. Retailers will pass on any proceeds to local good causes or environmental projects.”
The Welsh Government has worked with retailers on the introduction of the charge. After two consultations, the date of implementation was delayed and retailers with a headcount of less than 10 are exempt from having to keeps records around the charge.
There will be a three-month settling in period to allow retailers to get used to the new legislation. During this time enforcement action by local authorities will be avoided.
More information at www.carrierbagchargewales.gov.uk