Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Some thoughts on the carrier bag charge in Scotland

Yesterday retailers across Scotland brought in the 5p charge for single use carrier bags. This applies to all retailers, whatever their size, and to all types of single use bags, whether they're made from plastic, paper or biodegradable materials.

Similar charges in Wales and Northern Ireland have lead to a dramatic 75-80 per cent reduction in bags used. 

Less use means less impact on the environment and reduced litter levels. Carrier bags are a major and unsightly element of litter in and around Edinburgh, as I know particularly from my volunteer work with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust.

So, make sure you have a reusable cloth carrier bag in your pocket or in your handbag at all times. But remember, cloth bags use more energy in their production than do single use bags, so don't be tempted to collect excessive numbers of cloth carrier bags  (In our house we have cloth carrier bags for different purposes (eg one for recycling, one for carrying my equipment for volunteering with the Water of Leith Trust) and store them in different places to minimise the chance of being in a shop and finding ourselves without a carrier bag (a couple stored on strategic door knobs and cupboard door handles, one in each of my handbags and one in my rucksack). 

You can read more about the carrier bag charge on the Keep Scotland Beautiful website

You can read my earlier blog about this topic (complete with photos of two of my re-usable carrier bags) here

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


Dr. Cheryl Carvajal said...

I used to live in Seattle, Washington, USA, where they instituted a 25 cent charge per plastic bag used. I keep my reusable bags in my car, and even though I now live in Georgia, USA, and no such levied fines exist, I still use the reusables.

The clerks here don't like them (not as easy to use, since they have the plastic sitting there in neat stacks), but I don't care. They can sneer at me all they want. I don't want any more of those plastic bags in the landfill, thanks very much! :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Cheryl, yes store clerks aren't happy with people taking their own bags, I wonder if that will change here with the bag charge?

Jenn Jilks said...

Good for Scotland!!!!

EG CameraGirl said...

Yes, I use reusable bags and some stores here do charge if you need a plastic bag. Shoppers grumbled at first but they've gotten used to it. Most people where I shop take in reusable bags.

Bill said...

fewer bags used
less loose change
in my pocket

[but it's worth it]

Phoenix C. said...

That's interesting that cloth bags use more energy than single use bags. I do have plastic carrier bags - but I use them over and over and over again - including for instance as an 'inner bag' inside cloth bags and rucksacks as they don't let the rain in to my shopping or library books. I've got a huge one in my large rucksack - must have been there for years now. Some of my fave cloth bags are ones I've made from my old jeans!