Welsh Government
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Carrier bag use expected to plummet as a result of 7p charge

A seven pence charge on carrier bags looks set to come into force in Wales from spring 2011.

The mandatory charge, which has been driven by Welsh Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, is being introduced to  dramatically reduce the number of single use carrier bags used in Wales.

More than 400 million single use carrier bags are currently given out to Welsh shoppers each year.

Most of these bags then end up littering our country or in landfill where they release harmful greenhouse gasses into the environment and take between 500 and 1000 years to degrade.

The Minister is proposing a charge of 7p per bag to transform shopping habits  and reduce the number of single use carrier bags given out  in Wales.

Speaking about this issue, the Environment Minister said:

“Carrier bags are an iconic symbol of the throwaway society in which we live. Whilst I know that reducing our use of single use carrier bags is not going to solve all our environmental problems, the charge delivers an important message about the need for us to live much more sustainable lives.  

“I believe the seven pence charge is high enough to encourage consumers to change their shopping habits but not so high that it will stop impulse shopping or create a significant burden when we have forgotten reusable bags.

“I am confident that the Welsh public will embrace the carrier bag charge and see it as positive step towards preserving our beautiful countryside and helping Wales to reduce its carbon footprint.  

The Minister added:  

“It’s important to remember that no one has to pay the charge; it can be simply avoided if we remember to carry reusable bags when we do our shopping.”

The Environment Minister will be at the Hay Festival later today to launch a second consultation on the carrier bag charge. The consultation invites responses on the detail of the charge, including:

  • a 7p charge for all single use carrier bags –whether made of plastic or paper
  • exemptions for certain types of bags  used to carry unpackaged food or pharmacy medicines
  • a voluntary agreement with retailers to ensure that profits from the charge are passed to environmental or community projects and good causes.

You can access the consultation via our website.

The consultation can also be accessed via Sky and Virgin digital TV, through a Nintendo Wii or mobile phone. This means people can tell us their views from home, or when they are out-and-about.

The consultation will close on 2 August 2010.

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