The charge being introduced in England is not universal - it is limited to larger shops and smaller convenience stores can, conveniently, still hand out single use bags free of charge. And it only covers plastic bags, not other single use bags. Bur still, its a start. The Scottish charge applies to all retailers and includes not only plastic bags but also bags made from paper and other materials. While paper is biodegradable and renewable (in that more trees can grow) it is still not a perfect solution.
Also, the money charged goes directly to the retailer unlike the Scottish charging scheme in which the money is given to charities. It is not, therefore, a "stealth" tax and nor do the retailers profit from it, which is much more palatable to consumers.
Plastic bags are, of course, only part of the problem. Profligate use of "disposable" plastics in all forms needs to be tackled, whether through closed loop recycling or using alternative packaging. This article on plastic in fish highlights need for improving our systems for dealing with plastics - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34408414
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