Carrier bag charge introduced in Scotland

Scotland has now introduced a new legislation that charges shoppers for the use of carrier bags.

Supermarkets, retail stores, takeaways and online shops now have to charge 5p for every plastic bag used. Scotland has passed this law after positive results from other countries, who have proven that it is a successful method for reducing the number of  bags used.

Scotland uses around 800m carrier bags and it is anticipated that we can reduce this by 80%.

We asked Edinburgh locals today what their thoughts on charging for carrier bags are, and they seem to be in agreement that it is a good idea.



Northern Ireland and Wales have both been successful in reducing the number of plastic bags they use. The carrier bag levy was brought into Ireland on 8th April 2013, and between then and 27th August 2014 they managed to save 72%, that’s a staggering 215 million carrier bags.

Wales was the first country in the United Kingdom to enforce the carrier bag charge back in October 2011. It was found that the number of consumers who used their own bags rose from 61% to 82%.

Other European countries including Belgium, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain have all introduced a charge for carrier bags, and in 2011 Italy became the first country to stop using non-biodegradable bags.

It has already been confirmed that the money raised from the carrier bag charge will go towards a charity of the retailers choice. Keep Scotland Beautiful has already signed up to receive the profits from the carrier bag charge. Tesco supermarket in Wales have managed to raise £2m for their chosen charity since October 2011-  Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.


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