Scottish Government
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Bag it up

Carrier bag charge regulations put before Parliament.

A minimum charge of 5p per bag in a bid to reduce carrier bag use will be introduced in October next year, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has revealed.

Draft regulations have been put before the Scottish Parliament which will see retailers begin to charge from October 20, 2014.

Interested parties and members of the public now have 90 days to make representations to Scottish Ministers before the final regulations are laid next year.

The move was announced in June following a public consultation last year.

Mr Lochhead said:

“750 million bags are used in Scotland each year – the highest number in the UK – and we need to reduce this if we are to improve our environment. They are a highly visible aspect of litter and blight our country.

“The purpose of the charge is to encourage shoppers to think about reusing bags to prevent litter and combat the throwaway culture that Scotland has. It has been successful in other countries where a similar charge has been implemented and I want to see a similar reaction in Scotland.

“It is now time for a national effort to cut the impact of carrier bags in Scotland. Many people already use bags for life allowing them to re-use and recycle and this levy will make others stop and think about if they can do the same.

“Anyone with an interest in this move now has a 90 day window to make their feelings known and ensure that they have commented on action which will tackle litter and help achieve a zero waste society for Scotland.”

Notes to editors

The draft regulations can be viewed here:

The representation period will end on December 11, 2013.

As required by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, there will now be a 90 day standstill for any interested party to make representations to the Scottish Ministers on the draft Regulations, which will be considered before the Scottish Government puts final proposals for Regulations to the Scottish Parliament early next year.

Anyone interest in commenting can do so by emailing: or by writing to Carrier Bag Charging Consultation , Environmental Quality Division, Area 1D North, Victoria Quay, Leith Docks, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ.

Retailers will be required to charge at least 5p for single-use bags. This is not a tax - retailers would be expected to donate net proceeds to good causes. The charge will apply to single use bags of any material, not just plastic.

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