Plastic bag charge starts in Scotland
A new charge for plastic carrier bags has come into force today.
People in Scotland use more single-use bags per head than anywhere else in the UK, with more than 800m given out every year.
All retailers will have to charge a minimum of 5p for bags, large or small, and will apply to plastic, paper and biodegradable materials.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I’m extremely proud that this landmark legislation is now in force. Our carrier bag addiction is symptomatic of our throwaway culture and has serious implications for the environment. Huge numbers of these bags end up as litter, blighting our communities and clogging up our seas and natural habitats, affecting many sorts of wildlife and marine species in particular.
“We want that to change and for people to stop and think about whether they really need to take another bag. Alternatives like bags for life are easy to get and are much more sustainable.”
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: “We know that in other parts of the world charges for plastic bags have led to dramatic reductions in their use, as well as positive changes in consumer behaviour. A great example is Denmark, which introduced a charge in 2003, and now has the lowest plastic bag use in Europe, using 4 plastic bags per person per year.
“Single use carrier bags are symbolic of our wasteful attitude to resource use which must be addressed if Scotland's vision of a zero waste future is to be realised.”
Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe