From today (5th October) England will finally come into line with the rest of the UK, and now all large retailers (retailers with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees) will be legally required to charge you 5p for each plastic bag that you use.
However not all bags will attract this charge. Under the law, some bags will still remain free. These will include paper bags, woven plastic bags, bags without handles, bags for prescription medicines, bags for unwrapped food, and bags for uncooked meat.
This legal requirement to charge 5p per bag will only apply to large retailers, small businesses will be exempt, and will still be able to give you bags for free. Presumably those with less than 250 full-time equivalent employees. So we are mainly concerned here with your Sainsbury, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and Tesco’s type of retailer.
So if you want to avoid this charge, simplyremember to always have your car stocked up with plenty of your own bags before going on that weekly shop.
Speaking of bags, did you know that shopping bags supplied by any shop, just like the goods that you purchase and place into the bag, also has to be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose, under the Consumer Rights Act? So if having packed your shopping, and on the way out, the bottom of the bag falls out and the contents of your weekly shop are smashed on the cement of the car park, you would be able to claim against the store, as the “bag” was part of the goods supplied, and was clearly not of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.