The UK government has announced that it will consider legislation next year to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags unless retailers make serious efforts to cut down on their use.

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, announced during his budget speech that the government might force retailers to make a charge for plastic bags from 2009.

The legislation would apply to all bags from shops – including large fashion bags and the thin plastic bags used to wrap fruit and vegetables.

But the Chancellor’s warning has angered the makers of degradable recyclable bags who say they should be exempt from any new law.




  1. 1 ian russell March 19, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Like retailers are going to be upset about charging for something! As gestures go – and this is really all this amounts to – it’s pretty futile. Ask how much can be reasonably charged for a plastic bag? Compare it to the average cost of a bagful of shopping – the consumer will get used to the idea of paying for it rather than opting for alternatives. The bag is the problem, not the cost of the bag. If there were no plastic bags available at all, then we would have no option but to use something else.

    As for the last point, radical changes will inevitably risk jobs – adopting greener issues will be no different, even for green businesses. And I’m not sure about ‘degradable’ or ‘recyclable’ when it comes to bags. Buy a good one and keep it!

  2. 2 Susan March 24, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Hi Ian

    I agree with you – it would be much better if bags were banned – but it would cause a lot of problems if you forgot to take your boxes or cloth bags 🙂

    Years ago, supermarkets used to keep a huge store of empty cardboard boxes near the tills so that people could re-use them but you hardly ever see them any more. Presumably they decided they didn’t look pretty – but they must now be paying to dispose of those boxes so I say bring back the checkout boxes!

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