By Graham Chalmers
Are you happy to pay 5p for a new carrier bag each time you visit a shop?
Well, as I found out in a recent visit to Boots in Harrogate, you are about to have no choice in the matter.
From next month, carrier bag charges will begin in all major stores will be introduced - October 5 to be precise.
The new Government rules, according to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, will only apply to big stores, not the smaller independents - and local authorities have the power to impose fines on any store failing to apply them.
It’s all part of a Government drive to reduce waste and help tackle climate change.
If you’re a large retailer the minimum price is 5p for most new single-use plastic carrier bags.
If you’re a small or medium-sized business you don’t have to charge, but you’re free to do so voluntarily.
If you’re already charging 5p or more for bags you don’t need to charge an extra 5p.
Please note, shops don’t have to charge for plastic bags for obvious items like uncooked fish and fish products and uncooked meat, poultry and their products.
Retailers can be fined by local authorities who can impose a fixed penalty.
Shops must charge shoppers 5p per bag if they employ 250 or more full-time equivalent employees (in total and not just in retail roles).
Stores with fewer than 250 full-time equivalent employees don’t have to charge.
PS If a store is part of a franchise or symbol group (sharing a brand and products) it only counts employees in the local business.