Gransnet forums


Would you like a free carrier bag?

(24 Posts)
Elrel Sat 05-Dec-15 17:09:57

I was disappointed yesterday to hear the manager of a charity shop offering a customer, who had not asked for one, a carrier bag. 'I don't charge for it,' she assured the customer who had bought a small item which she appeared willing to take without a bag.
This was not a reused bag but a new one with the charity's logo.
None of my business really but it jarred.

Alea Sat 05-Dec-15 17:14:10

Isn't it funny how quickly you can establish a good habit when you try.
I never go anywhere near a shop without at least a roll up cloth bag in my handbag and a couple of shopping bags if I plan to buy anything at all.

Synonymous Sat 05-Dec-15 17:21:59

I wonder how that works as I thought there was a legal obligation to charge for bags nowadays. confused
For years I have always had bags with me in the car and a rolled up emergency cloth bag in my handbag - habit.

Ana Sat 05-Dec-15 17:25:12

Yes, I thought it was actually against the law for shops to provide free carrier bags now (new, unused ones at any rate). Are charities exempt, perhaps?

tanith Sat 05-Dec-15 17:34:27

I think it might be that each shop has to have more than a certain amount of staff before they have to charge at least I read that somewhere. I too always have a cloth bag with me or I remember to take a larger bag with me every time I go near shops now. I see Tesco's carrier bag usage has dropped 80% since they started charging so it certainly seems people are changing the habits of a lifetime. I saw a young man yesterday with his arms full of shopping , no bag so he was juggling his purchases in his arms.. I guess he didn't want to 'shell out' for a bag tchgrin

ninathenana Sat 05-Dec-15 18:08:42

I understood it was the number of branches tanith rather than staff. I would assume a large charity to come into the charge category. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I don't approve of charities giving them away.

hildajenniJ Sat 05-Dec-15 18:16:36

Small stores are still allowed to give free plastic carrier bags. I expect the charity shop was wanting to advertise itself.

ginny Sat 05-Dec-15 18:45:51

I'm getting better at remembering to take bags with me. I am happy to pay for a bag of I really need one but only if it is a plain one. I object to paying to advertise a particular store.

annsixty Sat 05-Dec-15 19:08:50

I have bought from charity shops and not been charged and the same at a farm shop this week . I know there is a criteria, I just don't know what it is. I always have a bag in case.

Luckygirl Sat 05-Dec-15 19:42:31

Is there an exemption for charities I wonder?

Ana Sat 05-Dec-15 19:43:41

I already wondered that, Luckygirl! tchgrin

GrandmaKT Sat 05-Dec-15 19:49:41

From the website...

Large businesses need to charge for single-use plastic carrier bags. This applies to retailers who have 250 or more employees.

Other useful bits of information...

You’re not required to charge for plastic bags that are for:
•uncooked fish and fish products
•uncooked meat, poultry and their products
•unwrapped food for animal or human consumption - eg chips, or food in containers that aren’t secure enough to prevent leakage during handling
•unwrapped loose seeds
•bulbs, corms or rhizomes (roots, stems and shoots, such as ginger).
•goods contaminated by soil (like potatoes or plants)

There are other exemptions too such as uncovered blades and live fish(!)

It's all here:

Ana Sat 05-Dec-15 19:55:27

So it would seem that charity shops are not exempt, and should be charging for bags (unless it's a very small charity employing fewer than 250 workers nationwide).

Charleygirl Sat 05-Dec-15 20:10:38

On the odd occasion I forget to take a bag with me or more likely, end up popping in for a couple of items and coming out with rather more, I put everything in the trolley, pop it in the boot and sort it out when I get home.

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 05-Dec-15 20:18:18

Perhaps charities aren't actually businesses.

Which charity prints it's own carrier bags? I thought they all used second hand ones.

ginny Sat 05-Dec-15 21:01:21

I was talking about large retail stores not charities although none that I have been in have used second hand bags.

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 05-Dec-15 21:05:27

I was talking about the OP.

Indinana Sat 05-Dec-15 21:08:21

Maybe it's because a lot of charity shops are run by unpaid volunteers. I wonder if they can claim that these people are not 'employees'?

Ana Sat 05-Dec-15 21:12:43

I know there are several GNetters who work as volunteers in charity shops. Perhaps they could enlighten us?

annodomini Sat 05-Dec-15 21:31:36

I took a great bagful of carrier bags to the AgeUK shop for re-use. I use the charity bags that come through the letter box to take clothing to charity shops and I assume they also re-use these.

Luckygirl Sat 05-Dec-15 23:17:59

Oops - sorry Ana!

ninathenana Sat 05-Dec-15 23:23:09

Good point Indinana

M0nica Sun 06-Dec-15 11:01:21

Paper bags are not covered by the new law. I have been offered paper carrier bags at several outlets that used to use plastic bags.

I think the British (sorry English) law is cock-eyed. The French do it much better. When they banned one-use bags, the ban was total, no one-use bags at all. If you arrived at the supermarket without a bag and needed one, you had to buy a long-life re-usable bag costing at least 1 euro. After a few weeks, all but a very few people turned up with their own bags. The exception is clothes. Whenever I buy clothes at a French supermarket they are rolled up and placed in one of those small thin polybags like those used for loose vegetables. It keeps them clean and protects them from the damage that being put in a re-usable bag might cause.

glammanana Sun 06-Dec-15 11:42:26

At the Charity shop where I am the only paid employee we do not charge for bags if they are required but I do make sure the staff supply re-cycled bags in the first instance if customers do not have their own,Indinana is correct in the assumption that volunteers are not classed as full time employee's even though their time is just as precious to the business,I buy rolls of bags from the local £land (40 on a roll) as I if my customers are good enough to give to the charity I should be good enough to supply decent bags for them if they come without one,sometimes customers do not intend to buy and pop in to browse and maybe find a bargain.
I did go into Bon March just the other day and saw a pair of trousers that I had been looking for (needless to say no carrier bag with me) and felt disgusted that they offered me a pair of trousers which cost just under £20.00 folded up and passed to me to carry back to work in the pouring rain.