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by Liam Kirkaldy
17 April 2015
Figures suggest 80 per cent drop in single use plastic bags

Figures suggest 80 per cent drop in single use plastic bags

Plastic bag use has fallen by 80 per cent in the six months since the 5p carrier bag charge came into effect, according to indicative figures.

With Scotland previously using around 800 million carrier bags every year, leading figures across Government and the environmental sector to welcome the news.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Over the past six months, we’ve seen an incredible change to shopping habits in Scotland. Shoppers have embraced the 5p charge and rapidly reduced their consumption of single-use carrier bags more readily than we ever hoped.”

Meanwhile Richard Lochhead said: “I’m delighted that in just six months the carrier bag charge is already making such a big impact in Scotland.

“I very much welcome the dramatic reductions in carrier bag use being reported by these major retailers. It suggests that many consumers are now in the habit of reusing bags, which should reduce the amount of litter that blights our communities and natural environment, and costs a fortune to clean up.

“This primary purpose of this legislation is to clean up our streets and beaches by cutting carrier bag use. But it’s also fantastic that the charge has already raised so much money for worthy causes from just these four retailers alone.”

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: “It’s great to hear carrier bag usage in Scotland has dropped so significantly since the 5p charge was introduced.  As well as removing thousands of bags from circulation, it’s also fantastic that nearly one million pounds has been raised for good causes across the country.

"Before the charge Scotland consumed a staggering 800 million carrier bags every year, many of which ended up polluting our environment and threatening wildlife. So, it's really great to see just how successful this initiative has been.”

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