Getting retailers to stop giving customers free plastic bags might be difficult. A few reports from the UK today seem to indicate that many clerks at major chain Marks & Spencer have been giving customers smaller free bags, or just not charging the 5 pence fee for regular-sized bags. This report from the Telegraph accuses the chain of misleading the public about its campaign to cut plastic bag use. The paper sent staffers to 10 M&S stores and found that "staff often encouraged customers to avoid charges by offering them several smaller bags, which are still free. In some cases, the charges were just being waived." A spokesman for M&S disputed the findings. He said the company has managed to cut its plastic bag use by 80 percent, and that it has seen no increase in the use of small bags not covered by the fee. "We have clear evidence that this is working," he told the Telegraph. Breaking retailers of the habit of automatically handing customers a plastic bag with every purchase might be difficult -- perhaps even more difficult than getting consumers to stop expecting free bags all the time.
UK retailer cheats on plastic bag fee?
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