A Skegness shopper said she felt so sorry for a couple who said they wouldn’t pay the new 5p carrier bag charge at a supermarket in the town that she let them have hers.
Shoppers in the town have given a mixed reaction to the new charge which was introduced at supermarkets and other big retailers, including charity shops, last week.
The new rules are designed to reduce the number of plastic bags littering streets or ending up in landfill sites and cut back on the estimated eight billion single-use carrier bags used across the UK each year - the equivalent of 57,000 tonnes of plastic waste.
Until now, it is estimated the average shopper got through 130 bags a year but even though that would cost them an extra £6.50 on top of their shopping, many local residents are finding the charge hard to accept.
Shoppers Anita and Barrie Bradnock went to Morrison’s armed with bags for life as well as free plastic carriers they had saved.
Anita said: “There was a couple at the checkout in front of us who said they wouldn’t pay it. I always take bags for life for my bottles so I gave them my carriers.
“A lot of people are not happy. I understand the environmental reasons and I don’t mind so much if the money is going to charity.
“But for a single mum with four bags, 20p is a lot of money.”
However, Annmarie Barnes says it is almost as if she has been preparing for this moment for years. She said: “I’ve had a carrier bag cupboard for years and so have a lot of my friends.
“I think it’s a girl thing. But the problem comes when you forget, although I don’t mind paying if I have to.”
The new charge has also been welcomed by East Lindsey District Council, who are hoping there will be fewer carriers left on the beaches.
A spokesman said: “It is hoped the introduction of the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags in England will have a positive impact on litter and recycling in the East Lindsey area.
“We will hopefully see less contamination of plastic bags in the grey wheelie bins, improving the quality of recyclables and less in the black bins, helping to reduce the amount that is sent to landfill.
“The presence of plastic bags as street litter should be reduced as people will be encouraged to reuse their bags following the introduction of the charge.”