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18/07/13 09:34

Don’t wrap it up

Shoppers urged to reduce carrier bag use

Scottish shoppers used 750 million carrier bags in 2012 – the highest rate of usage per person in the UK.

The Scottish Government announced last month that it is taking robust action by introducing measures which will see Scottish retailers charging a minimum of 5p per bag by October 2014 in a bid to reduce carrier bag use.

Commenting on the data published today by WRAP, Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“Discarded carrier bags highlight our throwaway society. Thousands of Scottish people already use bags for life but it’s disappointing to see that shoppers are continuing to use a staggering 750 million carrier bags each year – that’s 12 bags each per month.

“It’s clear that we need decisive action and that’s exactly what our new measures will do. By introducing a modest charge we can help to cut the number of bags which are often seen littering our streets, beaches and countryside.

“We have seen elsewhere that carrier bag charging has been effective in encouraging people to reuse bags. The charge in Scotland will not be a tax but will see retailers donating the proceeds to charity – and we could see up to £5 million per year going to good causes.

“I look forward to working with retailers to implement our proposed system.”

Notes to editors

2012 figures -

News release announcing new measure -

Regulations will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament in time for businesses to start charging by October 2014.

Carrier bag usage in Wales has reduced significantly since the introduction of a 5p charge indicating that this is an effective measure to bring down bag usage.