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Bags exempt from plastic bag tax

The Government’s tax levy on plastic bags in larger retailers has come into force but what polythene bags are exempt from the tax?

The levy is applied to retailers with 250 employees or more and only for bags that are 70 microns thick or less, with handles, and not having been previously used. Polythene bags that are exempt are returnable multiple reuse bags that must be:

  • Used to give away free promotional material
  • 50 to 70 microns thick. You can count thinner bags as reusable as long as they’re thicker than your single-use bags and the handles are at least 50 microns thick
  • At least 404mm (in either width or height) by 439mm. You cannot count gussets in your bag’s dimensions, or handles unless they are on wavy top bags.

Product Media magazine asked leading carrier bag supplier Oversolve for their perspective: “Whilst the single-use polythene bag tax is sure to have some sort of influence on the business, I would expect the demand for the reusable carrier bag styles we offer to remain.”

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