UNITED KINGDOM IMPOSES A FIVE PENCE CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS

10/12/2015

Monday October 5, 2015, marked the start of a mandated, five-pence (US $0.08) charge for plastic bags in England. Customers are required to pay for plastic bags for groceries, clothing, and other types of retail. The fee is intended to reduce waste and pollution. The government estimates that, prior to this charge, approximately 7.6 billion plastic bags are handed out over the course of a year—nearly 140 bags per person. There are exemptions to the fee, however. Stores with fewer than 250 full-time employees are not required to enforce the charge. Additionally, free plastic bags are allowed for items such as raw fish, meat, or poultry; takeout food; and flowers. England is not the first to impose a plastic bag charge. In 2002, Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags. Rwanda followed suit in 2008. Certain parts of the United States, including parts of California, enforce a plastic bag ban. Additionally, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland enforce fees similar to England's. For the full story, see http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/world/europe/plastic-bag-charge-england.html?ref=earth&_r=0