The number of single use carrier bags taken home by shoppers in Scotland dropped by 650 million after a five pence levy was introduced last year.
The data, which comes from major grocery retailers, indicates use fell by around 80 per cent since the charge was introduced a year ago this week.
Morrisons, the Co-operative and Waitrose say they have seen an 80 per cent drop, while Asda reported a 90 per cent reduction. Sainsbury’s saw a 100 per cent reduction of single use bags as they no longer offer them to shoppers.
Announcing the figures in Aberdeen, Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said the charge has been a “major success”. The results are similar to those in Wales, which saw a dramatic fall in carrier bag use after introducing a charge in 2011.
“Previously statistics showed that people in Scotland used more than 800 million new single-use carrier bags every single year – more per head than anywhere else in the UK,” he said. “I thank Scotland for embracing this policy and showing we’re serious about tackling litter, reducing waste and creating a cleaner, greener environment for everyone to enjoy.
“It’s now becoming second nature to shoppers to reuse their carrier bags and hopefully to think more about our impact on the environment.”
All retailers are being urged to sign up to Scotland’s carrier bag commitment, an open database launched by Zero Waste Scotland that allows anyone to see where donations are being made. At least £6.7m has been donated to good causes already as a result of the charge.
The 650 million reduction translates to an overall saving of more than 4,000 tonnes of plastic each year – around 500 million single use carrier bags – when the estimated increases in other forms of plastic bags such as reusable bags for life and small bin liners are taken into account. The overall carbon saving is more than 2,500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually.
Earlier this month, England became the final UK country to start charging for plastic bags. However, the English scheme includes a number of exemptions, including for any business with fewer than 250 employees.
Source: Recycling BG

Get Started With Green Energy at

Leave a Reply