Falkirk West MSP Mr Michael Matheson has welcomed the launch a three-month consultation this week on a range of proposals which will include phasing out free carrier bags. The aim is to Safeguard Scotland’s Resources through efficient use of materials including cutting waste and encouraging positive environmental behaviour.
As part of a manifesto commitment to ‘seek to phase out free plastic bags in supermarkets’, the Scottish Government will seek the public’s views on charging for single-use carrier bags to encourage us all to re-use them more. These proposals are similar to the system brought in by the Welsh Government last October. Early provisional indications from Wales report reductions in carrier bag use of between sixty and eighty per cent in different supermarket chains.

The consultation will cover the following proposals:
• A requirement for all retailers to charge
• This includes all thin gauge/disposable carrier bags, regardless of material
• Setting the minimum charge at 5p

Mr Matheson said:
“I know from my own personal experience that carrier bags are a highly visible aspect of litter. By reducing the amount being carelessly discarded we can cut litter and its impact on our environment and economy. I do not think that the small charge for this will be too onerous and should encourage us all to stop and think about what we discard and what can be re-used.

“I also think that it is fantastic that this initiative will see retailers donating the proceeds to charitable good causes. It is hoped this could be up to £5 million per year after retailers have covered their costs.”