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5p Carrier Bag Charge: What You Need to Know

The 5p carrier bag charge was introduced earlier in 2015, aiming to reduce the number of plastic shopping bags we as a nation are using and wasting in our everyday lives. By adding a charge, the initiative seeks to lower the number of bags used by people when out shopping, encouraging them instead to bring along their own bag or take fewer ones from the shop in question, with the overall goal being a positive environmental impact across the UK.

Here, we run through a little more about the charge, providing all the details consumers across the nation need to know before they hit the shops this Christmas.

Which bags are chargeable

Not all bags are chargeable, as if you are buying certain products, retailers can still offer you a free bag. Bags which are chargeable, however, include any bags that are:

  • Thinner than 70 microns (0.07mm)
  • Coming from major retailers with more than 250 employees

Can I still get a free bag?

As stated above, however, not all bags are chargeable and the exemptions include bags which will be used to transport:

  • Uncooked fish, meat and poultry (even if in a packet)
  • Unwrapped food, or food sold in containers that do not prevent leaking
  • Unwrapped loose seeds and flowers
  • Unwrapped blades
  • Prescription medicine
  • Live fish
  • Bags at airports or on trains, planes or ships

Why is the charge in place

As discussed above, the charge has been put in place to improve the state of the nation’s environment, aiming to hugely reduce the millions of thin plastic bags which are not biodegradable that are circulating our economy today. The 5p charge being put in place aims to deter consumers from simply picking up a bag to transport any old items, encouraging them instead to fit more into each bag they take away from a shop, or even bring their own.

When customers spend the 5p now, they are met with a thicker bag that they are more likely to use again; another initiative which will lower the usage and subsequent generation of excess numbers of these bags across the UK.

Here at Woodford Recycling, we are committed to providing expert, efficient recycling services to our customers throughout Cambridgeshire, extending our work to cover the rest of the UK with our network of approved partners. For more information on any of our services, get in touch with our friendly team of professionals today, and we’ll be happy to help, whatever the enquiry.


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