Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, writes:
Four months ago the Scottish Government introduced the single-use carrier bag charge to all retailers in Scotland. Taking reusable bags to the shops has increasingly become second nature to many shoppers across Scotland. In the first month some retailers reported single-use bag sales going down by 80% to 90%.
It’s Zero Waste Scotland that analyses the data retailers and other organisations provide to give a clear picture of carrier bag use across Scotland. That’s why we’re calling on businesses, public sector and third sector bodies across the country who give out single-use carrier bags to become ‘founding signatories’ to Scotland’s Carrier Bag Commitment. By signing up, shops agree to disclose carrier bag sales and donate money raised to good causes.
So far we’ve had a lot of support. High-profile retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Argos, Waitrose, The Co-operative Food and McDonalds are joining the campaign. As well as designer shops like Ted Baker, Jaegar, The Highland Soap Company and Austin Reed, and charities including the Salvation Army and Scottish SPCA.
On 20 April 2015, six months after the charge was first introduced in Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland will announce the full list of full list of retailers that have agreed to disclose bag sales and donate money raised to good causes. From food to fashion, big brands and small shops, we want as many retailers as possible to make the Commitment.
Over the coming months Zero Waste Scotland will be collecting data from businesses across Scotland and plans to release the first official figures later this year. While reducing the number of single-use carrier bags sold decreases the number discarded as litter, it’s also crucial that work continues to repair the damage that has already been done.
Shoppers can get further information about the single-use carrier bag charge by visiting greenerscotland.org/cleanerscotland/carrier-bags