Scots’ use of plastic bags down 90% in some stores

Supermarkets have seen a dramatic reduction of plastic bag use since introducing a levy on them last month. Picture: John Devlin
Supermarkets have seen a dramatic reduction of plastic bag use since introducing a levy on them last month. Picture: John Devlin
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PLASTIC carrier bag use has been slashed by more than 90 per cent in some Scottish stores after the introduction of a 5p charge.

The mandatory levy for single-use carrier bags was brought in by the Scottish Government in a bid to tackle litter and a “throwaway” culture.

Supermarkets have reported a dramatic reduction in the use of the bags since the charge came into effect on October 20.

An Asda spokeswoman said: “Since the introduction of the single-use carrier bag charge, we have seen over a 90 per cent reduction in the number of plastic bags distributed across our Scottish stores.

“Many of our customers are now using their own bags and in particular, their Bags for Life - this is good news for customers and the environment.”

A spokesman for Morrisons said: “In the last month we’ve seen a real change in carrier bag use by our customers, with an 80 per cent reduction in the use of single-use carrier bags.

“The response from customers has been to take the charge in their stride, with many customers making use of our reusable bags instead, or bringing their own into store.”


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Duncan Brash, manager of the Tesco superstore in Leith, Edinburgh, added: “The majority of customers come into store well prepared bringing their own bags.

“On the whole the reaction from our shoppers has been positive - most people who pay the charge understand why it is being made. They’re pleased that the money it is going to Keep Scotland Beautiful.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “This is great news for Scotland’s environment and wildlife, and proof that incentives like these can have a really positive impact for our planet.

“One only needs to stand in line at any shop these days to see that most people are opting not to pay for a bag because they’ve brought their own, meaning fewer bags ending up in landfill, polluting our oceans, or threatening wildlife.

“We hope it won’t be long before we rival nations like Denmark where, after a charge was introduced in 2003, each person now uses only four plastic bags per year on average - the lowest plastic bag use in Europe.”


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