Welsh stores with less than 10 members of staff will not have to keep records of the plastic bag charge due to be implemented later this year.
Environment Minister John Griffiths made the announcement following a consultation with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and other retail business groups.
The decision was welcomed by the chair of the FSB in Wales Janet Jones. “The complexity, as well as the added time and cost, in administering this would add further pressure on small businesses which have already been struggling to cope with the ongoing effects of a recession, high fuel costs and a VAT increase,” she said.
From October 1, all retailers will have to charge customers 5p for every single-use plastic bag given out. Any store with 10 or more staff members will have to keep a record of the charges and account for how the proceeds of the carrier bag levy are used. The money collected can be donated to a charity of the retailer’s choice.
The Assembly set the charge at 5p as it believes that it will encourage customers to change their shopping habits while not deterring impulse purchases.
Griffiths said that he hoped people across Wales could be able to avoid the charge altogether and cut down on the 273 plastic bags per household that were taken home in 2010. “The idea of the charge is not to make people pay for carrier bags,” he said. “Rather it is to encourage shoppers to make use of the bags they already have.”