Shoppers may face 20p bag charge
Shoppers could face a new charge of up to 20p when they use air max trainers plastic carrier bags at checkouts across Wales.
The National Assembly’s Sustainability Committee will later publish a report calling for the levy on the use of all disposable plastic shopping bags.
The document says a standard charge of between 10p and 20p per bag would raise between 6.48m and 12.96m which could be used to fund environmental projects.
The British Retail Consortium said it was opposed to the levy proposals.
Almost all of the estimated 648 million plastic bags used in Wales annually are distributed free of charge.
It is believed that each bag takes between 450 and 1,000 years to degrade and collectively amount to between 0.1% and 1% of visible litter in the UK.
The committee spent six months gathering evidence on what to do about plastic bags from a range of organisations and did consider bringing in a unilateral ban.
It decid air max trainers ed against outlawing them as it said such a ban would be too difficult to police and instead opted for a levy as the best way forward.
The committee chair Mick Bates AM explained: “We have concerns about the ability of Wales to enforce a unilateral ban on plastic bags.
“Not only would it demand a large amount of resources to police, there are also issues for those communities living close to the English border.
“We do not consider that banning plastic bags in Wales would be a feasible option for the Welsh air max trainers Assembly Government.
“The committee believes that a levy is the best and most practical form of intervention that the Welsh Assembly Government could make and that profits raised from such a levy should be used for environmental benefits.
“Consumers in Wales will soon see that a small change in their purchasing and disposal behaviours can quickly affect a large change on the environment.”
However, the person who originally came up with the idea to tackle to environmental issue of plastic bags in Wales, Neil Evans from Carmarthenshire, said he was disappointed with the levy plan.
Mr Evans originally suggested an outright ban on bags as part of the BBC Wales “If I ruled Wales” contest.
His suggestion won a public vote to be submitted to the Petitions Committee who subsequently passed it on to the Sustainability Committee for consideration.
“Initially I was disappointed by the recommendations because I wanted an outright ban,” said Mr Evans, who will be present as the committee makes it report public on Wednesday.
“I wanted us to be the first country in Europe to introduce a ban on plastic bags.
Chief executive Tegryn Jones said: “We hope that the report provides a valuable stepping stone towards significantly reducing the use of single use plastic bags in Wales.”
However, the British Retail Consortium, who were also consulted as part of the committee’s evidence gathering process, said it was opposed to a levy.
It said the retail industry had already used a range of different techniques, suc air max trainers h as introducing bags for life and other offers, to reduce the use of plastic bags which led by the UK’s leading supermarkets it had done so by at least 25% since signing a voluntary up to a voluntary scheme to do so in 2007.
Spokesman Richard Dodd said: “We’re opposed to compulsory taxes on bags.
“It will just be a case of another unnecessary charge being passed on to already hard pressed customers.”
The Irish Republic introduced a levy on plastic bags in 2002 which resulted in a 90% drop in the use of them across the country while China and Israel also have a charging system in place.
Meanwhile, Bhutan and Bangladesh have completely outlawed bags with France due to bring in its own national plastic bag ban in January 2010.