The fee for single-use tote bags will rise from 5 to 10 pence and extend to all businesses in England from May 21, the government has confirmed.
As part of the expansion, all stores, including the corner stores, will have to collect the fee. Previously, only companies with 250 or more employees per bag were required to charge fees, and smaller businesses could choose to do so voluntarily.
The 5 pence tax on plastic bags was introduced in England in 2015. The latest figures show that the number of single-use bags sold by large supermarkets has fallen by more than 95%.
The average person in England now only buys four single-use bags a year, compared to around 140 in 2014.
A survey conducted in December on the Wrap waste and resource association found that 73% of consumers were in favor of the levy.
However, the same survey found that 26% of consumers still buy single-use bags at the checkout when shopping for groceries.
Extending the fee to all retailers is expected to reduce the use of single-use tote bags in small and medium-sized businesses by 70% to 80%, according to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Environment Secretary Rebecca Pow said: “The introduction of the 5p fee has been a phenomenal success and has reduced the sales of harmful plastic bags in supermarkets by a whopping 95%.
“We know we have to go further to protect our natural environment and the oceans. We are therefore now extending this fee to all companies.
“Over the next few weeks, I urge all retailers of all sizes to prepare for the changes as we work together to get greener and strengthen our world-leading efforts to tackle the plastic waste scourge.”
James Lowman, General Manager of the Association of Convenience Stores, said, “We warmly welcome the inclusion of local businesses and other small businesses in the successful plastic bag fee system, which is not only good for the environment but also a great way for retailers to make money Money for local and national charities. “
John Lewis said an attempt will be made to remove single-use bags from stores in Cheltenham, Kingston and Leeds starting May 21.
Customers are encouraged to bring their own bags or purchase a reusable bag made from 100% recyclable materials that costs 50p for a medium size and 75p for a large size.
Marija Rompani, Director of Ethics and Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “It has become the norm to take our own bags with you when shopping for groceries, but we have different attitudes when shopping for clothing, beauty and household products.
“We expect our customers to support this change and listen to their feedback.”
Icaro interviewed 2,010 adults in England about wrap in December.