Bag charge welcomed by environmentalists

Plastic bag charge
Plastic bag charge

The independent charity Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) has welcomed the introduction of the mandatory 5p charge for single-use bags taken from shops which was launched at the start of this week (Monday, October 20).

The regulations, agreed by the Scottish Parliament in May, follow similar schemes introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland, where initial results showed a 75-80 per cent reduction in bags used.

And the environmentalists are going to be feeling the benefit of the bag charge as, following a customer vote, Keep Scotland Beautiful will receive all the proceeds from the 5p charge collected by Scottish Tesco stores for one year - with initial estimates suggesting proceeds approaching £1m.

KSB will re-invest that financial support in environmental projects and initiatives whilst also supporting grass roots activity in communities across Scotland. Welcoming the introduction of the 5p charge, Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We have always been clear that the bag charge can be a major stimulus for improvement in local environmental quality in Scotland. Reducing potential litter and eliminating plastic waste are key benefits that everyone should welcome.

“The introduction of the Scottish Government legislation brings Scotland in line with many countries across Europe where it is estimated that some 800 billion carrier bags are used each year. This is clearly unsustainable particularly given the considerable environmental impact they have when discarded into the litter chain. So it is encouraging that there is now an opportunity for the people of Scotland to play their part.”

“Our work with Tesco will make the best use possible of the money they collect from the bag charge. We have a unique reach across Scotland to deliver real change with these funds. We’ve delivered significant environmental improvements before, and these bag charge proceeds will allow us to do more, making Scotland cleaner, greener and more sustainable.

“This new charge for bags will be transformational for the environment.”