plastic carrier bags

Source: Getty

The proposed ban follows two consultations that were launched earlier this year

The Welsh government has published a draft Bill that bans plastic carrier bags.

The proposed ban follows two consultations that were launched earlier this year. The first sought the ban of single-use plastic carrier bags, which are currently subject to a 5p charge, and wet wipes containing plastic.

The second sought views on banning nine single-use plastic products, which were: cups, cutlery, drink-stirrers, lids for cups or takeaway food containers, straws, plates, balloon sticks, carrier bags and cotton buds.

The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill would make it an offence for a person to supply or offer to supply, including for free, a consumer in Wales with the single-use plastic products listed.

Wales was the first UK nation to introduce a single-use plastic bag charge at 5p per bag, with Scotland and England following with their own plastic bag charges. The charge has helped to reduced the amount of bags in circulation, as well as raising money for good causes.

“Convenience retailers are committed to making a positive difference in the communities where they operate, and local shops in Wales have played a key role in reducing single-use plastics across Wales,” said ACS CEO James Lowman.

“This is evident in the reduction of plastic bag usage through the successful implementation of the 5p charge. We have previously raised concerns about a blanket ban on these products and in particular the inclusion of plastic carrier bags in the ban as shoppers value the ability to purchase bags when they have forgotten theirs or are doing an unplanned trip.”

Lowman, however, raised concerns that the Welsh government had not included a start date of when the ban would be implemented.

“The draft bill currently fails to specify an implementation date and it is important that the Welsh government provides clarification on the timescales for the introduction of a ban to ensure a realistic sell-through period for retailers on the prohibited products.

”Another key factor is ensuring that any ban is supported by a comprehensive communications campaign to avoid frustration and confusion amongst customers. We will continue to engage with the Welsh government on the delivery of their plans to ensure they are workable for retailers.”

The Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee has invited businesses and organisations to comment on the draft bill and ACS will be responding by the 5 September deadline.