The UK Government has rejected the proposal put forth by the Environmental Audit Committee to include all retailers in the plastic bag charge scheme, which was due to be effective from October 2015.

All retailers including supermarkets were due to be required to charge customers 5p for using plastic bags. However, the government has now exempted small retailers, citing it as unfair and costly.

The proposal was not supported by the Association of Convenience Stores, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents or the British Retail Consortium.

Committee chair MP Joan Walley said that the 5p bag charge will reduce litter and waste and cut carbon emissions.

"Despite our Committee’s recommendations, the Government has decided not to apply the charge across the board, but to go ahead with its proposed exemptions. That risks diluting the benefits of the charge. The decision to only include large retailers is particularly short-sighted and ignores calls from all of the main small retailer organisations to be included in the scheme," Walley added.

Image: UK Government has exempted small retailers from charging 5p for using plastic bag. Photo: courtesy of Parliamentary Copyright.

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