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Opinion : 5p carrier bag charge is no more than a ‘tax’ on taking purchases home

| October 2, 2015


Here in the UK we are lucky enough to enjoy a high standard of living, the throw away society is a symbol of our wealth and achievement.

Take for instance the water coolers that are present in most work places. Every time your humble servant uses the water cooler I take one of those nice little plastic cups, fill it with water, enjoy my drink then dump the cup in the bin.

Of course next time my good self feels thirsty another little cup is ready in the dispenser to hold the thirst quenching liquid.

The cups are cheap, disposable and all part of the experience of enjoying a drink from the water cooler.

When shopping it’s become part and parcel of the shopping ritual to pack our purchases in those nice plastic carrier bags and carry the goods home.

Sadly it seems the environmental brigade are about to put a dampener on the free carrier bags because this coming Monday, the 5th October 2015, a new law comes into force compelling shops to charge 5p for carrier bags unless the items are being purchased are :

  • Uncooked fish and fish products
  • Uncooked meat, poultry and their products
  • Unwrapped food for animal or human consumption – for example, chips, or food sold in containers not secure enough to prevent leakage during normal handling
  • Unwrapped loose seeds, flowers, bulbs, corns, rhizomes (roots, stems and shoots, such as ginger) or goods contaminated by soil (such as potatoes or plants)
  • Unwrapped blades, including axes, knives, and knife and razor blades
  • Prescription medicine
  • Live aquatic creatures in water
  • Woven plastic bags
  • Goods in transport, such as at an airport or on a train, plane or ship
  • Considered as sealed packaging for mail order and click-and-collect orders (regardless of handles)
  • Returnable multiple reuse bags (bags for life)
  • Used to give away free promotional material
  • Used for a service but there’s no sale of goods, such as dry cleaning or shoe repairs

The new law states that a bag can contain multiple items from the list above and not incur a charge. However if the bag contains other items then a charge must be made. For example there would be no charge for a bag containing an unwrapped blade and unwrapped loose seeds, but adding a box of cornflakes means there would have to be a charge. A full description of the new law can be read here.

Well I think the new law is daft.

It’s not the plastic bag that’s wasteful rather it’s all the plastic packaging that retailers insists in wrapping the food in.

Next time my good self goes to the supermarket I will make sure that one of the items on the list above is in my shopping basket then a free carrier bag will be coming my way.

Yours truly will never pay 5p for a carrier bag. Indeed it’s possible to buy, in bulk, carrier bags for less than 1p on some of the leading internet auction sites so why pay 5p to a shop that’s already raking the profits in?

In my opinion the new carrier bag charge is a tax on eating after all we are now effectively being taxed to take the food we purchase home. The poor and those on paltry incomes will be hit particularly hard by the new carrier bag tax.

Soon they will be banning the disposable cups at the office water dispenser, how will I get a drink then?

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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