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Single use plastic and paper bag guidance

What you need to know

On Thursday 21 July 2022 the Single Use Plastics etc. (Restrictions) (Jersey) Law 2021 comes into effect. It means Islanders will no longer be issued with single use carrier bags, and will be charged at least 70 pence per reusable bag. 

 


The law applies to all traders and means:

  • they cannot import or supply single use paper and plastic bags
  • reusable paper and plastic bags must be provided to customers at a minimum price of 70 pence
  • failure to comply may lead to a Level 2 fine for traders of £1,000

What you need to do

The Law is designed to encourage a bring your own bag culture in Jersey, to reduce waste, and to support the global push to reduce carbon emissions.

If traders have non compliant single use bags in stock, they can continue to use these after the law comes into effect for a maximum period of 6 months, ending Friday 20 January 2023. 

Traders may be asked to prove that the bags were delivered before Thursday 21 July 2022. They do not need to charge customers for these non-compliant bags.

If you currently use reusable bags for your business or activity, check that they meet the new regulations. Reusable bags must meet a certain thickness and must be made from recyclable paper or plastic.

Traders can ask suppliers about what bags they can supply in the future.

Prohibited bags

The following bags are prohibited from importation and supply.

​Bag type
​Definition
​Lightweight plastic carrier bag

Bags with or without handles, made of plastic with wall thickness between 15 microns and 50 microns.

​Very lightweight plastic carrier bag

​Bags with or without handles, made of plastic with wall thickness of less than 15 microns and not meeting the OK Compost Home certification, or equivalent.

Plastic bags of less than 15 microns that comply with the OK Compost Home certification, or equivalent, can still be used.

​Paper carrier bag
​Bags with or without handles, made of paper to a weight between 50 grams per square meter (gsm) and 170 gsm.

Reusable bags you must charge for

If you supply the following bags, they must meet specifications and be charged at a minimum of 70 pence (inclusive of GST if applicable):

​Bag type
Definition
​Plastic reusable bag
​Carrier bag with or without handles, made of recyclable plastic, with wall thickness of 50 microns or above.
​Paper reusable bag
​Carrier bag with or without handles, made of recyclable paper to a weight of 170 gsm or above.







Bags you can still use

You can still use the bags listed below as they are excluded in the law or exempt:

​Bag type
​Definition
​Very lightweight plastic carrier bag
Bags with or without handles, made of plastic with wall thickness of less than 15 microns and meets the OK Compost Home certification, or equivalent.
​Paper 'counter' bag
​Paper bag with or without a handle, less than 50 gsm.
​Integral product packaging
​A bag that is an integral part of the packaging in which goods are sealed prior to sale.
​Gift bags
Paper bags, with or without handles, purchased for the intended purpose of gift wrapping only.​

​Other

Bags such as bin liners and nappy sacks purchased and used for their intended purpose.

Bags that are used to contain:

  • uncooked fish and fish products
  • uncooked meat and meat products
  • prescription medicine or prescription appliances
  • live fish or other aquatic creatures
  • goods in transport, such as at an airport, plane or ship

Factsheets

Trader guide to single use plastics law

Single use plastic technical guidance

Guide for marketing and events 

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to charge the minimum of 70p, required under the law, for the non-complaint bags that I had in stock prior to the commencement date that i am continuing to supply during the use-up period?

No, there is no requirement for you to charge for non-compliant paper or plastic bags during the use-up period.

What does the exemption for uncooked fish and fish products cover?

Where you supply uncooked fish or fish products packaged on your premises (whether pre-packaged for direct sale or packaged in front of the customer), the bags that are exclusively used to contain the uncooked fish or fish products are exempt from the requirements of the law.

If you supply a secondary bag, supplied to your customer for the purpose of transporting the packaged product, then this secondary bag in not exempt from the law.

Any uncooked fish or fish products pre-packaged off your premises are not exempt from the law.

Uncooked fish products cover:

  • uncooked fish
  • uncooked molluscs
  • uncooked cephalopods
  • uncooked crustaceans
  • uncooked bivalves
  • uncooked marine gastropods
  • smoked fish products regardless of whether they’re ready to eat. For example, kippers, smoked mackerel, or smoked salmon

I'm a bag wholesaler, do I have to charge the minimum price for each bag I sell to a local business?

No. Reusable bags that meet the specifications of the law and are sold by distributors or wholesalers are exempt from minimum price.

I have a donation point where customers can drop off reusable bags they don’t want and other customers can take them for free. Can this continue under the new law?

This can continue and it's a good way to encourage people to reuse bags. Reusable bags that customers have donated can be provided for free to other customers to reuse.

What happens to the profit from reusable bag sales?

Traders can direct their profits generated from selling reusable bags as they see fit.

Can retailers include the price of a reusable bag in the price of the goods?

No. The law requires a trader to charge a minimum of 70 pence for each reusable bag sold. This must be a charge separate to the cost of the goods purchased.

What does OK Compost Home mean?

Very lightweight plastic carrier bags must comply with the OK Compost Home certification, or equivalent. 

The OK compost Home certification is well known in the UK and Europe and approval by TÜV AUSTRIA (certification body) means that the bags meeting this certification are suitable for home composting.

Home composting is very different to industrial composting and so the very lightweight plastic carrier bags permitted under the law are suitable for home composting only.

A number of country specific standards have been introduced based on the OK compost Home certification and so the definition has allowed for bags that meet equivalent certifications.

What are the OK Compost Home equivalents?

  • France: NF T 51800 (2015). Specifications for plastics suitable for home composting
  • Europe: prEN 17427 (2020). Requirements and test scheme for packaging and carrier bags suitable for treatment in well-managed home composting installations
  • Australia: AS 5810 (2010). Biodegradable plastics suitable for home composting

Are fabric bags included under the law?

Bags made from other materials such as cotton, canvas and jute are outside of the law.

These types of bags often require more material and more energy to produce than a regular plastic bag and will need to be used more than 100 times to be a sustainable alternative.

Before you buy carefully consider the shape, strength and capacity of these bags so that they're:

  • durable, long lasting and washable
  • functional, a good size, comfortable to carry and strong
  • attractive, look and feel good to the customer

More information

If you have any questions email single use plastics or call + 44 (0) 1534 448160.


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