From October 1, businesses in Wales will be required to charge at least five pence for a plastic bag
The Welsh Government has announced that shops employing fewer than 10 people will not have to keep records of the carrier bag levy, to be introduced in October.
As of October 1, plastic bags will cost at least five pence each as the Welsh Government attempts to decrease the ‘excessive’ number of bags being handed out by shops.
However, it says that smaller businesses will not have to keep a record as they have voiced their concerns about the administrative burden that the levy would cause for them.
Businesses with 10 or more employees will be required to keep track of how many plastic bags they sell, and to account for what is done with the money from the sale of the bags. Although small shops will not be required to track how many bags they distribute, they will still be required to donate the money from their sale to charities.
Wales is the first UK country to introduce a compulsory fee for plastic bags.
Environment Minister John Griffiths said: "I'm sure they will still be asked by their customers what they have done with the proceeds of the charge and they themselves will want to inform their customers what they have done with the money, the good causes that they have supported."
He added: "For the vast majority of the proceeds of the single-use carrier bag charge we will be able to know the use of that money.
"But we very much expect customers to challenge those small retailers because it's going to be very high profile, I think, the introduction of the charge, and I'm sure customers will want to know the use made of that money."
It is expected that exempting small businesses from the levy will only apply to about 10 percent of plastic bag sales. The Welsh Government has recently released statistics indicating that the average household in Wales used 273 plastic bags every year.
Janet Jones, chair of the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales, said: "We are pleased the minister has listened to our concerns regarding the practical implication of this for micro businesses.
"The complexity, as well as the added time and cost, in administering this would add further pressure on small businesses which have already been struggling to cope with the ongoing effects of a recession, high fuel costs and a VAT increase."
She commented: "We hope that the enforcement of this will also be lenient to allow time for the new charge to embed, not only with retailers, but also with their customers."