Government launches consultation on plastic bag tax


A consultation has been launched by Defra into its proposed charge for plastic bags that it intends to introduce in 2015.

Defra said in the consultation document that the charge will be 5p and that it will only apply to single-use bags. It will also include biodegradable bags.


But it is consulting on what type of bags will be included in the charge, how to tell people about the charge and how to encourage organisations to donate their profits to good causes.

The consultation document said: “As a result, we expect that this charge will reduce the number of plastic bags used in England and increase their reuse, with an associated reduction in littering. Plastic bags use resources in their construction, transportation and disposal. Our main aim remains to reduce their distribution, with reuse and eventual recycling being important secondary aims.”

CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said: “While we believe that a charge is necessary and that England was at risk of being left behind by not introducing a legislative requirement, this is not a simple issue.

“The parameters of the legislation must be carefully though through to ensure that the measure delivers genuine environmental gains and the question of biodegradable bags is a particularly challenging issue.

“CIWM welcomes the research that Defra is proposing to fund and we would like to see rigorous material standards and effective sorting solutions to allow this important technology to play its part in reducing the impact of carrier bag litter on the land and marine environments.”