Carrier bag charge in Scotland kicks in

A mandatory carrier bag charge has come into force in Scotland today. Shoppers will now have to pay a minimum of 5p per bag in supermarkets, high street stores as […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A mandatory carrier bag charge has come into force in Scotland today.

Shoppers will now have to pay a minimum of 5p per bag in supermarkets, high street stores as well as smaller outlets like corner shops and takeaways.

It will apply to bags made from plastic, paper and biodegradable materials.

People in Scotland are said to use the most single-use bags per head than anywhere else in the UK, with more than 800 million given out every year.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “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.”

Similar charges introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland has shown drops in new bag use of around 80% and 70% respectively.

Shops in England are also expected to charge 5p for all plastic carrier bags from next year.