Scotland is following the lead from Wales and slapping a charge of five pence on single use carrier bags to encourage people to use less of them.
Wales brought in a 5p charge two years ago and last week the Scottish Government announced its own rule will kick in by October 2014. All Scottish retailers will be required to charge a minimum of five pence for every bag they give out.
It follows a public consultation on the matter and is meant to reduce the 740 million carrier bags issued in Scotland last year. Proceeds from carrier bag charges are to go to good causes.
Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “We use more carrier bags per head in Scotland than any other part of the UK and this is unsustainable… Discarded carrier bags highlight our throwaway society.
“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,” he added.
Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland said: “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.”