Scotland could charge for bags
Published: 27 Jun 2012
The Scottish Government may be following in the footsteps of Wales by charging 5p for every disposable carrier bag used. Similar plans were brought into force in Wales on 1 October 2011 and the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland (DoE NI) are also consulting about whether to introduce such a charge. Now a consultation has been launched in Scotland to decide whether a minimum 5p charge for bags should be introduced.
The plan is part of a range of plans to achieve a zero waste society through efficient use of resources and materials entitled 'Safeguarding Scotland's Resources - A Programme for the Efficient use of our Materials'.
Judging by early results from Wales, the decision to charge for carrier bags could work to help the environment. Wales has reported reductions in carrier bag use of between 60% and 80% in different supermarket chains.
The consultation that the Scottish Government has launched will cover proposals including a:
- requirement for all retailers to charge for bags, including thin gauge/disposable carrier bags regardless of material; and
- minimum charge of 5p.
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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