Every plastic carrier bag you use in Scotland will now cost you money both instore & online.
The Scottish government has approved with overwhelming support a new legislation that will require ALL retailers (food and non-food) to charge a minimum of 5p for each single-use carrier bag (including paper and those made from plant based materials) The charge came into effect on 20th October 2014.
The charge applies for all in store & online shopping where goods are sold or delivered. It applies everywhere, the newsagents, supermarket, butchers, local co-op, retail store & online etc. In summary, no matter where you now shop in Scotland, you will be charged a minimum of 5p everytime you use a plastic carrier bag. There are some exemptions to the charge including Chemists and in the sale of raw produce, however there are size guidelines in place and if the bag is larger than the government agreed size, the charge will come into effect.
What happens to the money raised?
The Scottish Government ask that the charge and resulting funds raised are used to support good causes, in particular those that benefit the environment. Organisations are encouraged to make use of the Carrier Bag Commitment. The same charge will also come into legislation for England in 2015 with both Ireland & Wales already having long established charges & bans in place with reduction levels on plastic bag usage at 75% & 80% respectively.
On the day the charge came into effect, over 160 retailers including Marks & Spencers, The Co-Op Group & McDonalds had already pledged their support to the enviormental commitment and will direct the proceeds of their plastic bag sales to environmental causes.
How many do we actually use?
Statistics suggest the average family uses between 700 to 1,200 collectivley between them each year, which is easily believed given the auto-accept frequency at which we can receive them nowadays in almost every shop or store we visit. The reality is this could cost up to £60.00 per year.
According to the NRDC the average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags per year.
Although the true cost lies in what happens to all these globally discarded plastic bags? well with a biodegradle period of anything up to a thousand years, they pollute and ‘clog up’ our environment and cause countless deaths to the marine life community.
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Lets all make a big fat difference.
The Grocery Box Compay Ltd. October 2014.