UK – September 16, 2015 – With the birth of the 5p plastic bag charge, much focus have shifted towards the ever handy paper bag. From October 5 and onwards, large shops will now be charging every shopper 5 pence for every plastic carrier bag they use. Although there are some exceptions to this, like smaller shops who can charge voluntarily, there are still a few things that you need to know about the 5p plastic bag charge.

Firstly, when you put a price on a widely used item, you can expect the number of users to decrease. People will find more cost-friendly solutions that offer the same benefit of plastic carrier bags. When this happens, carrier bag use is expected to reduce up to 80 percent in larger markets thus helping the environment. Probably one of the biggest issues with plastic bags litter and pollution and this 5p charge could help lessen the problem.

Second, last 2013 saw a whopping 7.6 billion plastic bags that were given out to shoppers in England alone. When you think about it, that’s about 61,000 tons. What’s worse is that the materials used in the production of plastic bags take longer to degrade posing a great threat to the environment and the entire planet itself. Once consumers are charged for every plastic carrier bag they use, you can expect the number of plastic bag users to be reduced.

There are also three exceptions to this charge: the use of paper bags (Yippee!), transit shops, and plastic bags with unwrapped food and other certain items.

You should also know that with the charge on plastic bags, you can expect it to gather considerable amount of taxes. In fact, it is expected that about ₤1.5 billion will be gathered in the next 10 years.

Lastly, it will lessen the number of unused plastic bags at people’s homes. According to a survey, there are about 40 plastic bags which can be found inside the average home and most of these plastic bags are often unused. The charging of plastic bags alone can help a great deal in keeping your house clean and organized.

Now, the only question left is: will you be affected by the 5p plastic carrier bag charge?