How Businesses Can Avoid The Carrier Bag Levy

The Co-Operative introduces compostable carrier bags which are set to be exempt from next year’s tax

Big retail businesses will have to deal with the controversial carrier bag tax next year when the 5p charge is introduced in Autumn 2015.

This levy will apply to single use carrier bags in an attempt to reduce environmental impact. Many have criticised this charge as it is not encouraging people to change their behaviour and could lead to an increased use of heavier plastic bin liners.

Today the Co-Operative has introduced lightweight compostable carrier bags which are set to be exempt from the tax. The company aims to encourage customers to recycle both packaging and food waste.


Co-Op Leads the Way

Compostable carrier bags are the latest innovation from The Co-Operative Food who have already been reducing their distribution of single use carrier bags. In 2013 the company used 64% fewer bags than in 2006.

So far the Co-Operative is the only large food retailer which has given its shoppers the choice of a re-usable plastic carrier. However, with the 5p levy coming into effect soon it is likely that other supermarkets will follow suit.

The Co-Operative bags will cost 6p each but they will help to re-use both packaging and food waste. These carriers have been trialled successfully and will now roll out to 81 local authorities where food recycling requires a compostable bag.


Sustainable Packaging

The fact that biodegradable bags are exempt from the tax will come as welcome news to large businesses. With huge food retailers reporting losses over Christmas, compostable bags will be a way to prevent further expenditure as well as promoting sustainable packaging.

Compostable bags are just one of many sustainable tax-avoiding packaging options available to businesses. Recycled plastic carrier bags are made entirely of post consumer waste and have the same strength as regular plastic carriers.

Paper carrier bags made by FSC certified manufacturers are another alternative. The Forest Stewardship Council source their paper from well-managed forests so consumers can be confident that they are not contributing to the destruction of the world’s natural resources.

Thanks to biodegradable carrier bags, recycled bags and carefully sourced alternatives, there are plenty of options available for large retailers keen to avoid the upcoming levy.

Until next time,

Dominic
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