Carrier bag charges. What does it mean to florists? - British Florist Association

Carrier bag charges. What does it mean to florists?

The fee for plastic shopping bags in England will be doubled to 10p and extended to all shops from May 2021.

In August 2020 the government announced that from Spring 2021 the Single-Use Carrier Bag Charge would be increased to 10p and extended to all retailers in England. Since its introduction, use of carrier bags in the main supermarkets has reduced by 95% and they are are keen to build on this success.
The main changes are:
• The minimum amount that sellers must charge for a single-use carrier bag will increase from 5 pence to 10 pence
• The obligation to charge for single-use carrier bags will be extended to all retailers
• Reporting requirements on the number of single-use carrier bags sold annually will not be extended to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (those with less than 250 employees), in order to minimise additional burdens

As a retailer:
• the charge is for non-reusable bags (single-use plastic carrier bags)
• you must charge for single-use carrier bags used for collections and deliveries
• you don’t need to charge an extra 10 pence if you’re already charging 10 pence or more for single-use carrier bags

All retailers must charge a minimum of 10 pence a bag (including VAT) from May 21st for bags that are all of the following:
• unused – it’s new and hasn’t already been used for sold goods to be taken away or delivered
• plastic and 70 microns thick or less
• it has handles, an opening and isn’t sealed

You will not be required to charge for plastic bags that are solely used for:

uncooked fish and fish products
• uncooked meat, poultry and their products
• unwrapped food for animal or human consumption – such as chips, or food in containers that aren’t secure enough to prevent leakage during handling
• unwrapped loose seeds
• flowers
• bulbs, corms or rhizomes (roots, stems and shoots, such as ginger).
• goods contaminated by soil (like potatoes or plants)

The BFA have had conformation from DEFRA that if flowers are the only item in the plastic bag, you do not have to charge for it, However if you add any item which is not on the exempt list, the bag then becomes chargeable.

It is possible the local authority inspectors will make a visit to your shop. The local authority has the power to

  • issue a non-compliance notice stating what must be done to fix the problem
  • impose a fixed penalty
  • impose a variable penalty

Those penalties are

  • Not charging for bags appropriately £200
  • Not keeping records £100 (only applicable to over 250 employees)
  • Not supplying records £100 (only applicable to over 250 employees)
  • Not charging for bags appropriately £5,000
  • Not keeping records £5,000 Not supplying records £5,000
  • Giving false or misleading information to, or otherwise obstructing or failing to assist the local authority £20,000

Environment Secretary George Eustice described the UK as “a world-leader in this global effort”.

Greenpeace said the move was “a small step in the right direction” but urged the government to go further.

The environmental group called for “fast and substantial reductions on plastic pollution” beyond the issue of carrier bags.

Mr Eustice described the original 5p charge at large retailers as a “tremendous success” and said the increase to 10p should be seen alongside other measures such as the ban on plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds in England.

If in doubt of any information you can also email

Of course we all need to know and follow these rules but we know so many of you are now switching to paper and finding more sustainable packaging alternatives. We encourage all florists to do as much as possible to reduce your plastic consumption, Keep up the good work!

Do you have any follow up questions or queries? We’re here to help! Please feel free to get in touch via Facebook, Instagram emailing .

Photo by from Pexels

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