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Carrier Bag Levy

What is the bag charge?

A 5p charge for all carrier bags is is required by the Government from 5 October 2015 as an effort to reduce litter in England. The minimum 5p charge for single-use plastic carrier bags was introduced as part of a policy to manage the excess amount of waste produced each year.

When should you charge for bags?

Businesses that employ 250 or more full-time or equivalent employees that sell or deliver goods in England must carry out the charge. Small or medium businesses aren’t required to charge, they are free to do so.

When does the charge apply?

The charge should be applied whenever a new carrier bag is used when purchasing goods. Bags used when shopping online and other home deliveries are also included. There are some exceptions to the charge which can be found here.

What happens to the proceeds?

Proceeds from all bag charges are expected to be donated to good causes.

Any further details and information can be found here.

Would you like your carrier bag funds to change places and lives?
Groundwork has a proven track record of transforming places and lives in the UK, with profits from carrier bag charges.

Case Study: Transforming Local Communites with Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer carrier bag programme cashier handing customer a bag

Groundwork and Marks and Spencer formed a partnership between 2008 and 2011 to pioneer carrier bag charging to reduce waste and improve the local environment.

Thanks to the 1.85p profit from each bag sold, M&S funded Greener Living Spaces, a major UK based programme that transformed places and gave communities the confidence to make the changes they want to see in their neighbourhood. 

With the help of £5.2 million Greener Living Spaces programme:

  • more than 10,000 people and a further 1,200 M&S employees got involved with local projects
  • over 100 parks, play areas and public gardens were improved for their local communites.
  • The Social Return on Investment was £2 for every £1 invested
  • Carrier bag usage by M&S customers was also reduced by 80%. 

You can find out more about the programme in this film: