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Seek donations from retailers from plastic bag levy, charities urged

Howard Lake | 1 October 2015 | News

Ahead of this month’s introduction in England of a mandatory charge for using all plastic bags at shops, charity specialist accountants The Fish Partnership is encouraging charities to ask retailers for funding from the income they will generate.
The 5p bag charge, which comes into force in England on 5 October, could, says the partnership, raise “as much as £100 million for retailers”, according to This is Money, in the run up to Christmas.
Last year in the UK around 8.3 billion plastic bags were used, according to Wrap, meaning that around £345 million of revenue will be raised through the scheme, once VAT has been paid.

Plastic bags levy England

The plastic bags levy was introduced in England on 1 October 2015.

The plastic bag levy was introduced in Wales in 2011, Northern Ireland in 2013, and Scotland in 2014.
In England the 5p bag charge applies only to shops or chains with 250 or more full-time employees. Smaller shops might still charge but they are not required to.
Of course, some large retailers have already pledged to give the money they receive to charities, but not all have specified which organisations will benefit. For example:
* Asda is offering up to £360,000 in plastic bag tax funds to Welsh charities, but has not yet announced which organisations it will support in England
* Tesco will donate an estimated £30 million to environmental projects, with shoppers nominating causes to benefit, and with the funding being handled by environmental organisation Groundwork. It will
* Marks & Spencer will benefit local organisations that it has existing relationships with
* The Co-operative has not yet announced which organisations it will support in England
* Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose have all invited charities to approach their local store for information
Update: Iceland, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose have partnered to support a dementia research institute at UCL. 
But there will be plenty of other probably smaller retailers who will not have been approached by charities with this suggestion.
Over the next 10 years the initiative is expected to bring in up to £730 million for good causes.
Martin Sheehy, Managing Director at The Fish Partnership, said:

“While some consumers may not be happy with the charge it is likely that many charities will benefit in the coming years from its introduction. We are already seeing signs from major retailers that they intend to give some of the revenue to good causes.
“I would encourage all charities to look into the potential fundraising opportunities that are on offer from the bag charge, no matter how big or small the contribution may be.”



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Tesco invites applications for funding

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Tesco is inviting local community groups and charities in England to apply for funding from its plastic bag levy. There will be two voting rounds a year; nominations will be whittled down to three good causes that customers can choose from to vote for in each area.
Six projects will receive funding in each of 428 regions annually, which means that over two thousand different projects will receive funding from the bag charge after just one year. The amount of funding available for individual local projects will range from £8,000 to £12,000. Groundwork will administer the funding.
Applications for funding from Tesco will be accepted from 19 October 2015.

Decathlon puts charity recipient to the vote

Sports retailer Decathlon will donate the proceeds from its plastic bag charge in England to a charity, and yesterday invited customers and the public to vote to choose which one will receive it.
It presents a choice of three – Macmillan Cancer Support, SportsAid and Scope. But it also invites other suggestions for a charity. There is no indication of a closing date.
Decathlon plastic bag donation charity vote

Dogs Trust seize the opportunity

The introduction of the plastic bag charge in England was seized as an opportunity by Dogs Trust, who promoted their long-lasting tote bag on the day: