The Marks & Spencer retail chain in the United Kingdom is expanding its plan to charge customers 5 pence each (about 10 U.S. cents) for plastic bags. The company will start charging for bags in southwest England in February. In the weeks before the move, it will give away free reusable bags to customers with each food purchase. M&S started charging customers in Northern Ireland for bags, which has led to a 66 percent drop in the number of bags used by shoppers there. "Our initial trial in Northern Ireland has shown us that introducing charging does make customers think twice about the number of bags they use, which is why we are extending our carrier bag charging trial to the South West of England," Chief Executive Officer Stuart Rose said in a news release. "If we see similar results and get an encouraging response from our customers in the South West, we plan to roll this out across the UK." Ikea retail stores announced a similar plan in the United States back in February, but it doesn't have quite the same impact -- how many people buy things at Ikea that they carry out in plastic bags? How soon will it be before a major U.S. retailer or grocery chain adopts a pay-for-bags policy like Marks & Spencer's?
Charging for plastic bags
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