All you need to know about the 5p plastic bag charge

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The use of a plastic carrier bag is something which affects everyone on a daily basis.

And soon you will be charged five pence for each single plastic bag you use.

With finances becoming increasingly tighter on our pockets the charge will soon add up and make a difference.

From this Monday, October 5, 2015, large shops across England will have to charge at least five pence for all the single plastic carrier bags they provide.

2013 saw more than 7.4 billion plastic bags averaging 133 bags for each person.

Small retailers are not obliged to charge but can do so on a voluntary basis.

Shoppers can avoid paying the charge either by reusing carrier bags or by using multi-use bags for life.

Here is a list of things you need to know about the forthcoming charge.

It will protect the environment

The environment is undoubtedly important to preserve and adding the five pence charge is predicted to reduce carrier bag use by 80 per cent in larger supermarkets.

This will also limit litter and pollution which currently stands a substantial issue.

Reduce the amount of carrier bags issued

2013 saw more than 7.6 billion single-use plastic bags given to shoppers by major supermarkets in England.

That’s the equivalent to 61,000 tonnes in total.

Plastic carrier bags take longer than other materials to degrade in the environment, can damage wildlife, and are extremely visible when littered.

What bags are exempt?

- Paper bags: Brilliant news; you will not be charged an extra five pence to have your fish and chips wrapped up in a paper bag!

- Shops in transit places such as airports, or on board trains, aeroplanes or ships.

- Bags only containing certain items, such as unwrapped food, raw meat and fish. Need not to worry you won’t be charged for the plastic bag these items are placed in.

The charge will produce billions of pounds

The five pence charge of a plastic bag is expected to rake in a staggering £1.5bn in tax over the next 10 years.

How many carrier bags are you hoarding?

The average household has around 40 bags scattered around the home - millions remain unused.

Where will the money from the charges go to?

That is up to the supermarkets taking part but the majority have so far pledged to donate the money to charities.

Will it include home deliveries?

Yes. You will be charged for plastic bags used for home deliveries unless you choose the bagless delivery option (if one is available). Tesco and Sainsbury’s have said they will charge a flat rate of 40p for home shopping unless customers select bagless delivery.

Will it work?

Wales first started charging for plastic bags three years ago and has seen a 79 per cent reduction in the number being handed out by supermarkets. Northern Ireland and Scotland have also seen a reduction since they brought in charges.

The government expects to see a 80 per cent reduction in the number of plastic bags handed out by supermarkets and 50 per cent on the high street in England, and thinks it will save £60m in litter clean-up costs.

Will you be affected by the charge? Get involved in our conversation on our Facebook page and tweet us your opinions.