Sheffield shoppers welcome new carrier bag charge as it comes in today

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New charges for carrier bags come into force today - years after The Star led a campaign calling for the move.

From today, large stores will have to charge shoppers 5p per single use carrier bag in a bid to cut pollution and littering.

In 2007 The Star took its Tax The Bag campaign to the heart of Westminster, to put forward the case for a small charge on disposable plastic bags to save energy, cut waste and raise awareness of runaway consumption.

Sheffield MPs Angela Smith and Clive Betts threw their weight behind the campaign, while reusable shopping bags were available from the paper’s front counter in York Street.

Star readers today backed the new change in legislation on the issue.

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Dan Douglas said: “This is an excellent nudge to reduce unnecessary carrier bag use.

“Wales saw use of these bags fall by 70 per cent following the introduction of this charge.

“It also benefits charities.”

Others hoped it would have an effect on littering around the city - which is often complained about by residents.

Daryl Slinn wrote on The Star’s Facebook page: ““Hopefully it will create less litter from the free discarded bags.

“Knowing the folk around here we never through anything away that we have to pay for even if it is only 5p.”

And Philip Bennett added: “It should have happened years ago.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has set out guidelines on which bags must be charged for and those which must not.

Businesses with fewer than 250 full time employees , such as corner shops, do not have to charge.

Bags for uncooked fish, meat, unwrapped food, medicines and ‘live aquatic creatures in water’ do not have to be charged for.

Goods in transport, such as at an airport, are also exempt, as are bags provided for a service such as dry cleaning rather than goods.