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Eversheds comment: England’s great plastic bag debate

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    Proposals for a 5p charge on plastic bags in England is creating great debate amongst political parties, retailers and recyclers. Michael Grimes, head of waste practice at global law firm Eversheds, comments:

    “What started off as a relatively straightforward proposal to charge for plastic carrier bags is quickly becoming a great debate. The Environmental Audit Committee is criticising what it sees as unnecessary complexity in the proposals coming from DEFRA, which seek to differentiate between large stores who will charge and small stores who will not. The proposals also exempt bags for life and paper carriers and by not taxing them may promote their use rather than encouraging people to reduce waste altogether, which is the aim. Plastic recyclers are also concerned about having to sort out biodegradable bags before processing plastic wastes and fear overall recycling of remaining plastic will suffer.

    “Other countries on England’s doorstep manage very well with simple straightforward rules that apply across the board with differing levels of reporting rather than exemptions, so why not follow examples that already work in practice?”


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