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5p charge for carrier bags planned
Scottish shoppers will be charged 5p for all carrier bags from next October
Shoppers in Scotland will have to pay 5p for carrier bags from next October, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.
Scots use about 750 million bags a year, with Mr Lochhead saying the new charging regime showed the Scottish Government was taking "decisive action" to cut the number that are thrown away.
While some retailers already charge for bags, all shops will have to do so by October 2014, with customers paying a minimum of 5p per bag. The charge will be applied to almost all single use carrier bags, not just plastic ones.
The proceeds from the levy will then go to charity, with good causes expected to receive up to £5 million a year thanks to the scheme.
Mr Lochhead said: "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."
Regulations to bring in the charging scheme will have to be approved by MSPs at Holyrood.
While all retailers will have to charge for bags, smaller businesses will not be required to report centrally how many bags they sell and how much they have given to good causes. Instead they will be expected to display this information in their store for customers to see. There will be some exemptions to the charge, including bags used for prescriptions, bags used for certain fresh food, such as fruit and unpackaged meat or fish, and for bags used for unpackaged blades.
Environmental campaigners welcomed the move, with WWF Scotland director Lang Banks hailing the introduction of bag charges as "great news", adding: "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."
Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, also backed the levy, saying: "We can all reduce the impact of carrier bags by making sure that when we must take one, we re-use it over and over again as many times as possible and then recycle it at the end of its life."
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next October is 2014? what happened to October 2013?
I would point out that although supermarkets maybe ripoff kings it is the government that Is imposing the levy not the supermarkets
When we purchase green groceries we put them in a plastic bag before we weigh them. If a Supermarket uses 10000 kilo of bags in any period of time and the average cost of our purchases is £2 per kilo then they already receive £20,000 for these bags.
Charging for plastic bags has been the norm in Spain and Portugal for years so the UK is only playing catch up and coining in at our expense as if we don't give enough to charity already.
If so that means charities will be better of by 2 or 3 hundred million pound a year. I bet they won't be a penny better off . Which supermarket will change their name to charity first
I can remember when I was a kid paper bags were
free and plastic bags were 2p so whats the fuss
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