Fashion, Lifestyle

“5p bag charge, what’s the problem?” – Andrew Deyes

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Humanity Hallows Issue 4 Out Now!
Pick up your copy on campus or read online.

By Andrew Deyes

It has been 13 months since the plastic bag charge was introduced in England and plastic bag usage has dropped by an astonishing 85%. From the time since the 5p plastic bag charge was introduced in October 2015, the subject has raised a lot of questions. Why are people so reluctant to pay for bags? And, why, when a bag is offered freely, do they accept it but being made to pay for one makes it a different matter?

In Wales, you have to pay for bags regardless of the material that they are made from, whether that’s paper or plastic. But, in England, that rule only applies to plastic bags meaning many retailers are switching the paper bags to remain competitive. This, matched with the bag being a walking advertisement campaign, means it is a win-win for retailers and customers.

The real curiosity, however, is about accepting the bags. I work in a well know high street retail giant who trade under the name of Primark in the UK. Whilst working on the tills, I observe and serve customers, scanning their items and talking to them about whether it is a Christmas purchase or for themselves. Part of the rehearsed spiel is ‘Do you need a bag today?’, there they stand hesitant in thought about whether they need one or do they already have one with them. The question that always comes, ‘Do you charge for them?’. As these bags are paper, we let them know that the bags are indeed free, and they kindly smile and say they would like a bag.

So, if people had to pay for the bags, would they accept the bag or would they find another means to getting their purchases from A to B? Is the small fee of 5p such a deal breaker for the modern day consumer? The evidence is clear with the reduction in plastic bag usage and the amount of people we now see with shoppers, totes and their own bags, that shopping habits are changing and we have adapted well to it. Time will tell with this one. Until retailers are forced to charge for the use of paper bags, we will not know the true cost.

Which ever way you look at it, the charge has done what it aimed to do with changing the way that we think about sustainability and the environment. The bank breaker of the 5p has changed our opinions of the plastic bag and the impact it has on the planet and our wallets.

Humanity Hallows have enlisted the help of the Cava, Prosecco and Champagne to show you a way to shop and look good at the same time. These three bags have to fit into the criteria of being firstly a good size for all your shopping needs, stylish as you want it to look good and also durable as it you want to stand the test of time.


Cava Choice
New Look Snakeskin Print Panel Tote bag

A slightly smaller bag but still perfectly massive. Consider it a Tardis. Bang on trend with the architectural panels which are matched with the Snakeskin print. A bag that is small enough to be an everyday bag but big enough for the shopping trips. Great print and even better price!


Prosecco Choice
Longchamp Le Pilage large shopper

A simple big with bags (see what I did there!) of charm. Love the simplistic nature and can be gained in an array of colours to suit both men and women! Bonus being that it folds up for easy for transport! A must have for anyone looking for a big bag at an affordal price!


Champagne Choice
Vivienne Westwood Leopardmania shopper


A gorgeous bag that is not only stylish with the biggest winter trend being animal print but it is also humongous inside! Can fit the kitchen sink in and more!

Do you object to paying for carrier bags? Send your thoughts to

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Andrew Deyes

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