B&Q brings carrier bag charge to England

Following the success of mandatory carrier bag charges in Wales and Scotland, B&Q has announced a charging scheme of its own in England; in an effort to encourage customers to re-use old bags and reduce pollution.

Customers will be charged 5p for standard single-use carrier bags with 100% of the profits going to charity, while bags for life and wallpaper bags will be charged at 15p each with 5p from each sale going to charity.

This year, the charity will be the BBC’s Children in Need appeal, with B&Q hoping to raise more than £150,000 over the next 12 months. 

B&Q director of corporate social responsibility Matthew Sexton said: “Thanks to the schemes we’ve introduced in Wales and Scotland over the last 10 years, we’ve already succeeded in significantly reducing carrier bag usage.

“The widening of this scheme to England, ahead of the official Government levy, is testament to our commitment to reducing waste. Should our customers need to purchase a bag, they can be confident that by doing so, they’re playing their part in helping a good cause.” 

BBC Children in Need’s head of corporate partnerships Carrie Green added: “We’re honoured to be the first chosen charity to benefit from the new scheme. As an important partner for BBC Children in Need, the support of B&Q & it’s customers has been instrumental in helping us achieve such success in fundraising each year.”

Reducing waste

B&Q has already reduced the number of single-use carrier bags given to customers from 70 million to 12 million over the past 10 years, with the first trial having been launched in Scotland in 2004. As well as carrier bag charges, B&Q has introduced a number of other measures including placing bags below counters and providing them upon request only.

In July this year, WRAP found that the number of single-use plastic bags handed out to shoppers by UK supermarkets had risen for the fourth year running. The Government is due to introduce a compulsory carrier bag tax in England in 2015, but has been criticised for making the proposals ‘unnecessarily complicated’.

— Read edie’s list of carrier bag sustainability statistics —

Lois Vallely

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