Welsh Bag Charge: 5 Years On

Monday 14th April 2014

As the first UK region to introduce a 5p charge on single use carrier bags, Wales have seen a number of significant changes. This feature looks at some of the impacts the Welsh Bag Charge has had, and what other UK regions can expect in the coming years as the bag charges continue.

The Welsh Bag Charge was introduced in October 2011. Unlike similar charges introduced later, such as that of England, the Welsh charge includes all single use carrier bags.

The primary aims of introducing the Single Use Carrier Bag Charge in Wales was to change the consumer habits, reduce litter, and help raise funds for charities and good causes by donating the proceeds.

Through the implementation of the charge, additional donations to good causes are estimated to have been between £16.8 million and £21.9 million between October 2011 to January 2015.  Additional environmental, health and employment benefits have been achieved in Wales equating to between £26.9 million and £35 million over the same period.

A recent study on the impact of the Welsh Bag Charge published results on both consumer and retailer surveys to assess the impact of the charge on littering. The majority of those retailers who issued SUCBs to customers (78%) reported no change to the amount of litter ‘around their premises’. However, when asked about the extent to which they agreed with a set of attitudinal statements, 59% of retailers agreed that ‘the charge has helped to reduce litter’. The disparity between these two findings may reflect the difference in the wording of the two questions, with the former explicitly limited to retailers’ own premises and the latter potentially interpreted to relate to a wider area. Overall, 66% of consumers agreed with the statement ‘the charge has helped to reduce littering in my local authority area’.

Visit Welsh Bag Charge Report for more info.

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