Single-use bag ban

In June 2020 the States Assembly unanimously approved a proposition to ban single-use plastic and paper bags in order to reduce Jersey’s waste. Under the ban, which will come into force in 2021, retailers will no longer be able to sell or give away single-use plastic or paper bags, with a few exceptions such as plastic “bags for life” that will be sold at a set minimum price and which it is hoped will further encourage islanders to move away from single use bags and to using their own reusable bags. Thin paper bags utilised for foods, pharmacy goods, gift bags, bin bags and food packaging are also exempt from the ban.

Banned & allowed bags

This table sets out clearly what will and will not be part of the ban.

Banned & allowed bags

To find out more you can watch this short YouTube video covering most areas of the proposition in more detail.

You can read the proposition in full here.

Banning the sale of single-use carrier bags

FAQ's on the carrier bag ban

Your questions on the carrier bag ban and minimum price for bags for life are answered here:

What’s the timeline for the ban?

The law is being drafted for approval by the States Assembly in February 2021. The legislation will include an implementation period before the ban will come into force.  This is to give business a reasonable amount of time to use up any bags that will become prohibited and make any other changes required.

Our retail store currently use luxury card/paper bags, are these classed as gift bags and therefore exempt?

No, the gift bag exemption only applies to bags sold as wrapping for a gift. Luxury card or paper bags used to take goods home from a store are not classified as gift bags.

Some businesses raised this issue during the consultation period with the Government of Jersey and we understand that this is being considered in the development of the legislation, but the outcome is not yet known.

We sell cosmetics and use popular branded bags for purchases, is this exempt as a counter bag?

‘Counter bags’ are paper bags (50gsm or below).  If you use these bags, you can continue as they are exempt from the future ban. It does not make a difference if the bag is branded or unbranded.

Why does the ban cover paper/card bags too, isn’t it just plastic use that is bad for the environment?

No. The Environment Agency reported that a paper carrier bag has to be reused at least 3 times to have the same impact as a single use plastic carrier bag.

The legislation includes paper bags as they have a greater environmental impact than plastic and it is important that retailers do not simply switch from plastic bags to paper bags. This would not achieve the aims of the legislation which are to reduce waste, increase reuse and support Jersey’s Carbon Neutral Strategy.

If we want to continue giving customers the option to buy plastic bags for life, is there anything we must do?

The legislation will set a minimum price for bags for life.  A bag for life has been defined as a bag made of recyclable plastic that is 50 microns and above.  You will be able to sell this type of bag to customers, but you must sell it for at least the minimum price which will be part of the new legislation.

Once the new legislation is approved, we understand that guidance notes will be available to help businesses understand what bags can be provided to customers in the future.

How do I set up a recycling scheme for my bags?

It is recommended that retailers that sell bags for life, take back unwanted bags for life from customers and have a process in place to pass these bags on for recycling.  Check with your bag provider if they provide a ‘take back’ service for recycling.

The extra cost of the new bags and a recycling scheme will impact my business, do I have to pay the government the money I make from the bags?

No.  Any money made from selling bags for life is yours to keep.  Directing this revenue to charities is voluntary.

We are going to sell reusable cloth bags/corn stalk bags are they part of the ban?

The ban refers to paper and plastic bags. The legislation will not apply to bags made from other materials.

If we want to sell non paper or plastic reusable carrier bags, do we have to charge the set minimum price for those too?

If you sell bags made of materials other than paper or plastic, the new legislation will not apply.

How can we have our say?

The retail consultation opened on the 20th August 2020, and closed on the 23rd September, it was hosted on gov.je and covered in press from the 16th June onward encouraging retailers to contribute towards it. Jersey Business also direct emailed all their retail contacts encouraging business to contribute, if you’re not part of our retail email list please contact our Head of retail Lorie on [email protected] to get included.

If you have questions not resolved by the above FAQs please contact [email protected] direct so that she can assist in finding an answer.