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Scottish retailers to charge for carrier bags

The Scottish Government has confirmed retailers in the country will be charging for carrier bags from October 2014.

The minimum 5p charge will be donated by retailers to charity. The Scottish Government estimates this could result in £5 million per year in donations, after retailers have covered their costs.

The charge is going to be implemented in a bid to reduce the 750 million carrier bags used in Scotland every year.

Regulations will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament prior to the charge coming into force, following a consultation with the public on the matter last year.

Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said it was time for a “national effort”: “We use more carrier bags per head in Scotland than any other part of the UK and this is unsustainable. Carrier bags are a highly visible aspect of litter and we are taking decisive action to decrease their number.

“We have seen elsewhere that carrier bag charging has been effective in encouraging people to reuse bags.”

In April, Northern Ireland started charging at least 5p per carrier bag, following the success of the Welsh levy, which started in 2011.

However, resource minister Lord de Mauley said in May England will not get a plastic bag tax until evidence is available from how the system has worked in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - despite mounting pressure from campaigning groups and MPs.

  • Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, said there will be a broader consultation in Sctoland this summer to tackle litter of land, sea and river systems.

 

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