Supermarket and shop rules: The new rule changing at every shop in England from today – Essex Live

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As of today, the rules around single-use carrier bags are changing for shops across the country.

From May 21, the single-use carrier bag charge is increasing to 10 pence for all retailers in England.

It includes small, medium and even micro-retailers, including shops like airport retailers.

Biodegradable bags are also not exempt from the charge – meaning they too will cost 10p each.

The change comes ahead of COP26 in November, the United Nations climate change conference happening in the UK to discuss how to tackle the climate crisis.

Boosting the price of single-use, plastic carrier bags is another attempt to curb the sheer volume of plastic bags used and tackle plastic pollution.

Several times already this year, groups such as Extinction Rebellion have voiced their fears and concerns regarding the climate crisis and what they allege is inaction from the government to tackle the issue before it is too late.

What will change now?



A shopper loading Tesco bags into a car
All retailers will have to follow the rules or face a fine

For businesses employing fewer than 250 staff, they will not have to keep any records or report their carrier bag use.

However, retailers of any size must now charge a minimum of ten pence for the single-use carriers – and will face a fine if they do not.

Large retailers will be required now to record and report the use of their single carriers sold in England.

As a retailer you must charge for:

  • non-reusable bags (single-use plastic carrier bags)
  • bags used for collections and deliveries

You do not need to charge an extra 10 pence if you already charge 10 pence or more for bags.

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The single-use bags which will be charged are classed as:

  • unused – it’s new and has not already been used for sold goods to be taken away or delivered
  • plastic and 70 microns thick or less
  • it has handles, an opening and is not sealed

Shops are not required to apply the 10 pence charge for woven plastic bags or multiple reuse bags (bags for life), when replacing free of charge, if originally sold for 10 pence or more.

They also do not need to charge for plastic bags used for food products, plants, prescription medicines, unwrapped blades, live fish or aquatic creatures or for services such as dry cleaning.

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