Local shops need clarity on plastic bag law changes, warns ACS

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to confirm the implementation dates for the upcoming changes to laws on plastic bags.

The new rules, which were initially due to come into force at the end of April, will see retailers in England included in mandatory plastic bag charging, whilst at the same time setting the minimum amount that can be charged for a plastic bag at 10p.

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“There are supposedly just weeks to go until the extension and increase in the plastic bag charge are supposed to come into force and we still don’t have clarity on the implementation date,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.

“Small retailers need as much notice and support from DEFRA as possible ahead of the change to enable them to provide advance notice of the change to customers and colleagues, which will reduce the risk of confrontation in store.”

According to DEFRA, since the scheme was introduced for larger businesses in England, the number of bags used in those stores has decreased by 80%, resulting in retailers with over 250 employees being required by law to record and report how many bags they sell.

“ACS has long supported the extension of the plastic bag charge to all retailers in England as a way to provide consistency for customers, and as another great way of raising money for local and environmental charities,” Lowman added.

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