Policy paper

Carrier bags: why there's a 5p charge

Information about the 5p charge for single-use plastic carrier bags in England from 5 October 2015.

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Information for consumers and others about the 5p carrier bag charge introduced in England from 5 October 2015.

Published 17 July 2015
Last updated 11 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. We've updated our plans in relation to small retailers, following 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment' .
  2. We have added more information about the results of the scheme, and the money that's been given to good causes.
  3. Added a link to the summary of data in England for 2016 to 2017 under the 'Results from the scheme' heading.
  4. Added information about summary of data for first 6 months of the charge.
  5. Added link to biodegradable bags review report.
  6. Regular editorial review and update.
  7. Updated the title to help search engines.
  8. Editorial review.
  9. Updated now that shops have started charging for bags.
  10. Editorial review to make some bits clearer and simpler.
  11. Updated to include 2014 carrier bag usage statistics.
  12. Added short video for consumers and others explaining the 5p charge for single-use plastic carrier bags.
  13. Added our short video for consumers and others explaining the 5p charge for single-use plastic carrier bags.
  14. First published.