The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling for a “measured approach” by government to calls for a carrier bag levy in England.
Responding to calls from an alliance of environmental groups, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, to introduce charging for carrier bags, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our members’ experience in Wales suggests that if introduced properly, compulsory carrier bag charging can reduce waste, save costs and cement retailers’ status in their communities.
“The Welsh scheme allows local shops to use the income from carrier bag charging to support good causes as they see fit, and does not impose unnecessary record-keeping and reporting requirements.
“If a scheme was introduced in England on a similar basis, we would support it, but would urge detailed consultation to ensure unintended burdens are not placed on retailers.”
Research among ACS members in Wales has revealed the following outcomes from carrier bag charging:
• 71% reduction in carrier bag usage
• Initial resistance and customer dissatisfaction due to poor communication and consumer awareness prior to implementation
• Reduced costs and minimal disruption after the implementation period.