The Scottish Governments plan to halve the amount of plastic bags handed out to customers is welcome but does not go far enough, according to Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Pringle.
The Scottish Government recently launched a major media campaign to get people to reuse their carrier bags and reduce waste (see MRW story). In conjunction with Scottish retailers the Scottish Government hopes to halve the amount of carrier bags stores hand out by this spring.
Pringle has been campaigning for a plastic bag ban in Scotland. He told MRW: Richard Lochhead [Environment Secretary] realises the writing is on the wall. It is great that we are moving forward but it is not enough. If you look at the example of Ireland they have reduced plastic bag use by 95 per cent.
I would like them [the Scottish Government] to impose legislation but they are not going to do that.
Retailers like Asda will be announcing shortly that they will be giving away bags that can be reused and encouraging all customers to bring bags back.
Pringle said that customers were more environmentally conscious and starting to bring in their own bags for reuse. He added: If everybody behind the supermarket till said bring in your own bags next time it will have such an impact.
It will also save supermarkets a fortune, if they stopped giving out plastic bags, especially in this economic climate.
In September 2008, retailers set a new voluntary target to reduce carrier bag usage by 50 per cent by spring at the Scottish Governments first supermarket summit.
Research by Waste Aware Scotland showed 92 per cent of people approve of reusing carrier bags, but 59 per cent forget to do so.
Talking about the plastic bag campaign Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: Millions of shoppers taking a small step can lead to a big change. The beauty of the campaign is that everyone who shops literally all of Scotland can be engaged in sustainable behaviour.