These retailing newcomers seem to have it in the bag

Kevin May and his wife are new to retailing and are making up for any lack of experience with enthusiasm. Kevin writes: “My wife and I recently bought a small village shop in Hampshire. We are keen to do our bit for the environment and, with the support of the community, want to continue the shop’s practice of re-using plastic carrier bags donated by customers.”

He adds: “Is it lawful not to charge a fee for these?”

At the moment the 5p levy is voluntary for small stores in England (not so in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). At the moment the Mays are not required to charge, even for new ones.

This scheme, though, will be extended to small stores in 2020 (when, for larger stores, there are plans to double the levy to 10p).

In any case, reusing plastic bags donated by customers doesn’t seem any different to me than customers bringing in their own bags for their shopping. There has never been a charge for that.

However, as I said to Kevin, the 2020 requirements may well spell it out differently. I’ve given up trying to second guess the government.