Scottish shoppers to pay 5p for carrier bags

From October next year shoppers in Scotland will have to pay 5p for carrier bags, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.

The charge will be applied to all forms of carrier bags- not just plastic ones.

Mr Lochhead said that Scots use around 750 million bags every year and says the new scheme will show that the Scottish Government is taking "decision action" to cut down on the amount of bags being thrown out.

The proceeds from the bag charges will go to charity, with good causes expected to receive up to £5 million as a result of the scheme.

"Discarded carrier bags highlight our throwaway society. 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. 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.

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

"This charge is not a tax but will see retailers donating the proceeds to charity - this could be up to £5 million per year after retailers have covered their costs.

"Thousands of Scottish people already use bags for life and some retailers already charge. It is now time, however, for a national effort."

– Richard Lochhead, Rural Affairs Secretary