M&S Carrier Bag Charge Follows NI Trial

Following a trial period at Marks & Spencer stores in Northern Ireland and others in southwest England, High Street retailer Marks and Spencer has announced plans to charge customers 5p for each plastic bag they use.

Customers at the company's stores will be given free long-lasting bags from the beginning of April, before the new charge is introduced on May 6.

The scheme, which will only apply to stores in the UK, will see all the funds raised going to the Groundwork Trust.

The move follows Northern Ireland's pioneering role in the initial trial in 50 stores which saw the demand for plastic carrier bags drop by more than 70%

M&S Chief Executive Sir Stuart Rose said: "We want to make it easy for our customers to do their bit to help the environment and our trials have shown is that they want to take action.

"Our customers will be raising valuable funds to go to our partner charity, Groundwork, to invest in much-needed green spaces in our neighbourhoods."

Sir Stuart said that if M&S customers across the UK reduced the number of plastic bags they used by 70%, it would reduce the number of bags used each year by 280 million.

Every year, British retailers give out 13 billion plastic bags free to customers - an average of 216 per person - and they take 1,000 years to decay.

Meanwhile, rival supermarket Tesco has revealed that it used 3bn plastic bags last year. While it does not charge for them, it instead offers bonuses such as extra clubcard points if they re-use bags.

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said the supermarket had a policy of encouraging its customers to "reduce, reuse and recycle".

She also said that since April 2007 there had been a 10% reduction in the number of free plastic bags given out, which is the equivalent of 85m bags.

A spokesman for Asda said it was on target to reduce the environmental impact of its carrier bags by 25% by the end of 2008. As part of this aim, the supermarket has implemented several initiatives in all of its stores.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 November 2020
65-Year-Old Man Arrested In Connection With Birmingham Pub Bombings
A 65-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings. Twenty one people were killed and some 220 people injured when bombs exploded at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town on the night of 21 November, 1974.
10 November 2020
ScamwiseNI Partnership Marks Fourth Year
An initiative to address the rising number of scams being reported to police has marked it's fourth anniversary. The ScamwiseNI Partnership was developed by a number of organisations including the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Commissioner for Older People, the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Department of Justice.
04 October 2021
63-Year-Old Man Arrested In Connection With Killing Of Lyra McKee
A 63-year-old man has been arrested in L'Derry early this morning in connection with the killing of Lyra McKee. The 29-year-old journalist was shot dead as she observed rioting in the Creggan estate in April 2019. Police investigating the killing of Ms McKee have made a number of arrests over the last number of weeks.
01 October 2021
New 10-Year Cancer Strategy For Northern Ireland Under Development
A number of virtual consultations has been launched by the Department of Health to help develop a new 10-year Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland.
14 September 2021
12-15-Year-Olds To Be Offered Vaccine
The Covid-19 vaccine is to be offered to young people aged 12-15, following unanimous advice to ministers from the four UK Chief Medical Officers.