The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has issued guidance for retailers on charges for plastic bags due to come into force later this year.

From October 1 retailers will be obliged to charge 5p per single-use carrier bag. The money collected can be donated to a charity of the retailer's choice. All stores will have to keep records on the number of bags handed out, and if a business trades above the VAT threshold and hands out more than 1,000 bags a year, the retailer will need to publish these records in their store or on the company website.

The WAG defended the charge against research by the Environment Agency which revealed plastic bags are less damaging to the climate than alternatives such as bags for life and paper bags, saying that the charge was designed to "encourage shoppers to re-use their bags so that the amount of bags handed out can be reduced".

The guidance, which is available on the WAG website, is designed to help retailers understand how the law will operate. It is offering the opportunity to comment on the guidance. Submissions must be made to before April 15.