What are the printed carrier bag charges?
July 14, 2014

5p Plastic Bag Charge Will Not Affect SMEs

plastic bag charge  

DEFRA has confirmed that the incoming 5p plastic bag charge will not apply to small businesses with fewer than 250 full time equivalent employees.

The 5p charge on ‘single use’ bags, which has now been defined as a lightweight bag of a plastic material with handles, is to come into effect in October 2015, with the secondary legislation of the charge still being drafted.

With some areas on the initial bill being left open to interpretation, North East company ‘The Printed Bag Shop’ contacted DEFRA directly in order to gain clarity on the charge and how it will affect small businesses across the UK.

“Introducing a charge for single use bags could have a significant knock on effect”, says Craig Smith – Managing Director of The Printed Bag Shop, “and so it’s very important that we understand the details and the implications. DEFRA have been very helpful and we now have a much clearer understanding of how this will affect our business and our clients”.

DEFRA confirmed that the biggest impact will be felt by retailers, who will be obliged to charge a minimum of 5p for each single use plastic bag their customers use. The proceeds of these charges are subject to VAT. This will be enforced by the local Trading Standards Authority, which also has the power to impose penalties on those who don’t comply with the new regulations.

The remaining proceeds from the charge are to be used at the retailer’s discretion, with DEFRA currently looking into developing a voluntary agreement that the proceeds are donated to charity. The government will not receive any part of these proceeds, nor have a definitive say in where they go.

In order to monitor the effectiveness of the charge and its impact on the use of carrier bags, organisations that are included will have to provide reports on the number of carrier bags handed out, the amount received as proceeds and where those proceeds have been spent.

Further details of the charge will be made later this year, in advance of the charge coming into effect in October 2015.

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