With three days to go until the 5p Welsh carrier bag charge is enforced shoppers are being urged to be fully aware of it’s implications so that they are not caught out.
From Saturday Wales will become the first UK country to introduce a charge for single-use carrier bags and people are being urged to prepare ahead so they are not caught bagless at the till.
Retailers will begin charging five pence for single use carrier bags as of Saturday as part of efforts to reduce the levels of littering and pollution caused by discarded plastic bags.
The move is predicted to raise thousands of pounds for local good causes or environmental projects who will directly receive money raised by the charge with none going to the Welsh Government.
There had been some concerns of a potential administrative burden on small businesses as each bag sale is required to be recorded, but the Welsh Government has since said that shops with fewer than 10 staff will be exempt from keeping records on the forthcoming carrier bag levy.
However, small businesses are still legally obliged to enforce the charge and pass the money on to environmental causes or local charities.
Last year households in Wales took home an average of 273 bags from supermarkets and the Welsh Government believes the new rule will mean one tenth of this number will be brought home.
It is hoped that this will lead to vastly reduced rates of littering, which currently cost local authorities an estimated £1 million to clear each year.
Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths said: “It is important people are aware charging is being introduced this Saturday, nobody wants people to find themselves caught out at the till.
“However, it is equally important people know the reasons for this change.
“Plastic carrier bags are a significant contributor to the pollution of our wonderful landscape here in Wales and each local authority spends thousands of pounds every year clearing the litter they cause.
“This move is welcome as it will free up council resources to be used elsewhere and tackle pollution to boot.
“We have worked closely with business to bring the charge to affordable levels and there will be a period in which this will not be enforced to allow people to get used to the change.”
From October 1st to January 1st, there will be a settling in period during which the charge will not be enforced by local authorities.
She added: “From next Saturday, people should try to bring old bags with them, or switch to reusable bags on sale at most supermarkets.”
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