Published on February 7, 2014 | by Fayrouz Essack

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Do you ever feel…like (paying for) a plastic bag?

Many of us are guilty of it. We’ll go out to do our weekly shop – or even just pop out to get bread and milk – and we’ll then be asked by the shop assistant: “Would you like a bag?” Soon many of us could be answering “no” if new legislation goes ahead to make large retailers charge customers 5p for plastic bags.

Picture from www.serenaded.net

Shoppers in Wales and Northern Ireland already pay for their plastic – and it could be happening pretty soon in Scotland. But what’s holding us back in England is that some MPs say the proposals are ‘too complicated’ and a ‘complete mess’. That’s because the charges won’t apply to all carrier bags – OR all retailers.

5p or free?

– The charges will apply to plastic bags

– Biodegradable bags will be free

– Paper bags will also cost nothing

– Larger retailers will have to charge for bags

– But it wouldn’t be compulsory for smaller shops

Leader of the Environmental Audit Committee Joan Walley thinks the plans need to be simplified. Manager of an M&S Simply Food shop Tom told us they give away the littlest bags for free – ‘perfect to fit your lunch in’ – but customers aren’t happy when they have to pay 5p for a larger one. He said if they had to charge for all bags he’d be likely to get lots of complaints.

On Twitter there’ve been mixed views on the matter:

We’ll have to wait and see whether the 5p charge will happen in England.

Here’s my piece on the proposals:

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