M&S carrier-bag charge to benefit Groundwork UK

Environmental charity Groundwork UK is set to benefit from up to £1m a year after Marks & Spencer (M&S) announced a carrier-bag charging scheme, to launch in May.

Green spaces including parks, play areas and gardens will be created around the UK as a result of the cash generated from the 5p charge to customers.

A trial of the charge has already begun in Northern Ireland and in 35 stores in south-west England, resulting in almost £85,000 of income that is being spent on six projects in those areas.

M&S began the trial in June last year and saw a 70 per cent reduction in the use of carrier bags.

Representative Clare Wilkes said the retailer expected to raise £1m in the first year of the charge, which would all be donated to Groundwork. The amount of money raised is likely to drop year on year as the concept of re-using bags takes off.

Groundwork chief executive Tony Hawkhead said: "Not only will this scheme reduce the amount of food carrier bags sent to landfill sites but it will also help improve the quality of life in towns and cities across the country."

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