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Single-use carrier bags

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Wales introduced a Single Use Carrier Bag (SUCB) charge of 5 pence per SUCB from October 2011 in order to reduce consumption and the associated environmental impacts.

The single use carrier bags charge legislation came into force in Wales on 1 October 2011. Single use carrier bags are no longer given away for free when people buy goods.

We are committed to reducing the number of single use carrier bags used in Wales.

Visit: The Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Wales) Regulations 2010 (external link)

The money raised is collected by the retailer and we want this to be passed on to good causes, preferably environmental good causes, here in Wales.

  • It is estimated that single use carrier bag use between 2011 and 2014 has declined by 71%.
  • Between 2001 and 2014 there has been an estimated overall reduction in all bag use by 57%.
  • Consumer support for the charge has increased since 2011 from 61% to 74% in 2015.
  • From when the 5p charge was introduced in October 2011 to October 2014 additional donations to good causes have been estimated at between £17m and £22m.

Good causes

If you are a good cause - this could be anything from a school, small local community group or a national charity - then you may want to contact local, national and international businesses to see if they are able to donate any of the carrier bag charge proceeds to you.

An example letter (external link) that you can use is available on the Carrier bags charge Wales website.


For more information on our policies on single-use carrier bags, please visit Carrier bag charge Wales (external link).

Cost benefit analysis of bags for life charges in Wales

There are 2 carrier bag provisions in the Environment (Wales) Bill.

Proposed charge on single use carrier bags - Equality Impact Assessment

The policy’s purpose is to encourage a wider behavioural change where consumers re-use bags by introducing a levy on single-use carrier bags through regulations aiming at substantially reducing the amount of single-use carrier bags.

Behaviour study on the use and re-use of carrier bags 2012

A review of shopper perceptions and usage of single use carrier bags, bags for life and other containers in Wales and Scotland.

Evaluation of the introduction of the single-use carrier bag charge in Wales: Attitude change and behavioural spillover

This evaluation has shown that the policy is popular and effective.

Implementing the Principles of Good Regulation: a review of local authorities’ activities in Wales

The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) reviewed the 22 local authorities in Wales to confirm that they are working to the principles of good regulations before we can confer civil sanctions powers on county and county borough councils in Wales.

EV0422: Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Oxy-degradable Plastics Across Their Life Cycle

The report produced for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) looks at the environmental impacts of oxy-degradable plastics.

Regulatory Impact Assessment on the proposals to introduce a single use carrier bags charge

This Regulatory Impact Assessment sets out the costs and benefits of the 4 policy options for introducing a single use carrier bag charge.
Single Use Bag Study

Single Use Bag Study

Evidence to support our proposals to introduce a charge on single use plastic and paper carrier bags in Wales.