Shoppers Have Stolen A Ridiculous Amount Of Plastic Bags Since The 5p Charge

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It’s fair to say shoppers around England freaked out a bit too much after a 5p charge became law back in October…

But new research shows that in a standard, English way we’ve been pretty passive aggressive in dealing with this and have helped ourselves to 520 million carrier bags worth a total of £26.7 million since the charge came in.

In a big middle finger up to the government (how dare they try and save the planet), the survey revealed that in the last three months, shoppers have grabbed a bag at the checkout and not owned up to it, with three being nicked per person each month.

According to the study by website more than half of supermarket shoppers admitted to pinching a carrier bag after forgetting to bring their own.

More than a third believe the law is just a money-making exercise, whilst a quarter resented paying the fee. It’s only 5p, for fuck sake…

The poll of almost 3,000 adults across England also showed that millions of people were lying at self-checkouts and tapping in zero bags taken when they actually had.


According to the research, the north west was the carrier bag theft capital of England with 22% of those quizzed admitting to pinching a bag. The north east was second in the league of shame with 19% and East Midlands was third with 16%.

When the law was first introduced a load of thefts of shopping baskets were being reported as fed up customers who had forgotten to bring a bag walked out of stores with the baskets.

Tesco resorted to putting security tags on its baskets after a third were stolen from one store in Greater Manchester alone in the first week of the 5p fee and it and even tagged its 10p Bags for Life in a store in south west London.

With these kind of more extreme measures, shit like this could become a more regular occurrence…