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Levy on Scottish bags to save £90m over 15 years

The Scottish carrier bag levy will save an estimated £90m over 15 years compared to doing nothing, according to a Scottish government report.

The ‘Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment: Carrier Bag Charge’ report said that alternatively the baseline ‘do nothing approach’ would cost £600m overall.

Retailers will charge five pence per bag from October 2014 as part of the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan. The minimum 5p charge will be used to cover the retailers’ costs and the remainder donated to charity.

The report explained the aim of the charge is to reduce the number of single-use carrier bags distributed by retailers in Scotland by providing an incentive for consumers to reuse them. The introduction of the charge is expected to reduce demand for single-use carrier bags by 569 million (from 965 million to 396 million). This is projected to reduce overall costs to the environment by £11m every year.

England is now the only country in the UK not to have a carrier bag levy. In May, resource minister Lord de Mauley said he would wait until there was more evidence from how the system has worked in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In January, ministers came under pressure to introduce a levy on single use bags in England from a consortium of pressure groups, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage.

  • Last month MRW reported that more UK supermarket customers used carrier bags last year compared to the year before, but the total weight of bags issued decreased following a reduction in the material used to produce them, according to WRAP statistics.

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