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Scotland consults on plastic bag charge

Proposals to charge for plastic carrier bags will be put forward in a consultation by the Scottish government.

A range of measures will be outlined in a three-month public consultation, including a requirement for retailers to charge a minimum of 5p for bags.

The proposals are part of a manifesto commitment to phasing out free plastic bags in supermarkets, and are similar to the system brought in by the Welsh Government last October. 

Early indications suggest reductions in carrier bag use of between 60% and 80% in different supermarket chains as a result, according to the Scottish government.

Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Carrier bags are a highly visible aspect of litter.  By reducing the amount being carelessly discarded we can cut litter and its impact on our environment and economy.

“A small charge should also encourage us all to stop and think about what we discard and what can be re-used.

“This initiative will see retailers donating the proceeds to charitable good causes. It is hoped this could be up to £5 million per year after retailers have covered their costs.”

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