From Monday large shops in England will charge 5p for each plastic bag. But how did shoppers get so used to free carrier bags in the first place, asks Chris Stokel-Walker.
The Single Use Carrier Bags Charges (England) Order 2015 comes into force on 5 October.
The order requires sellers who employ more than 250 people to charge 5p for a “single use carrier bag” which is less than 70 microns (0.07mm) thick.
Though there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, including for medicines, raw meat and razor blades, having to pay for bags will be a major change for most English shoppers.
The history of the plastic carrier bag’s ubiquity is slightly hazy, with no-one able to place a definitive date on the point when they were standard at all UK checkouts