Where your 5p plastic bag charge goes (clue, it’s not to charity)


Barely 24 percent of shoppers’ total spend — £25m — on carrier gladstone bags has actually made its way to named charities, latest Government figures be undergoing revealed.

Many retailers have admitted keeping the cash to travel costs of the scheme, while others said they gave earnings from the 5p cite to charities — but failed to name them. 

HMV raised £135,000 through the marketing of 3.2m bags but held onto £60,000 in costs. While WH Smith discourage a keep £76,000 of its total £206,000 raised by the charge.

Companies should not be budgeted to avoid disclosing who they give money to

Sue Hayman

Meanwhile, the Control has been the biggest winner — earning £17m in VAT on takings on bags.

River Atoll, Halfords, Iceland and Argos were among 50 retailers which back up all profit went to charity, but did not provide specific details on where the change ended up.

A total of £42m is said to have gone to unidentified ‘kindly causes’, while a further £17m is unaccounted for.

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Just 24 percent of shoppers’ entire spend on carrier bags has made its way to named charities

Plastic bag use knock from 7bn in 2014 to 2bn last year, according to the Government figures. Yet, with retailers able to submit figures without any audit, tasks have been raised over the actual success of the scheme.

Sue Hayman, Dwell on’s shadow environment secretary, questioned the scheme’s transparency. She said: “Institutions should not be allowed to avoid disclosing who they give money to.

“The Subdivision for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs must ensure any missing figures is properly accounted for.”

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Retailers with more than 250 hands have to charge 5p

The charge came into force in October 2015 across retailers applying more than 250 staff. 

Campaigners have called for the tractable bag charge to be rolled out across all retail businesses in England, as is the case all over Wales and Scotland.

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