Scottish retailers make Carrier Bag Commitment

Zero Waste Scotland has launched a Carrier Bag Commitment scheme which will see retailers across the country donate proceeds from the 5p carrier bag charge to charitable causes.

Launched yesterday (30 June), the voluntary scheme will see signatories commit to donating the money from the carrier bag charge to good causes in Scotland, which can include environmental initiates.

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation became the first major retailer body to sign up to the scheme which has already seen an uptake from businesses in Scotland including the McDonald’s, Marks and Spencer and The Co-operative Group.

Director of Zero Waste Scotland Iain Gulland said: “I am delighted to meet with our first signatories today, from the Scottish Seabird Centre and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, who are putting their names to Zero Waste Scotland’s Carrier Bag Commitment.

“I urge all retailers in Scotland to consider signing up to the commitment – it’s quick, easy, transparent, and provides great publicity for your business and the good causes you choose to support.”

Zero Waste Scotland will also support retailers using dedicated reporting tools to simplify the process and offering means to help the business promote the causes they are supporting.

Plastic bag tax

This continued commitment to promoting the plastic bag tax comes after the Scottish Parliament passed a bill for a 5p charge on all disposable carrier bags in May. The charge, which will come into effect on 20 October, is aimed at encouraging people to re-use their bags or consider alternatives such as bags for life while also raising millions of pounds for good causes through the money collected by the charge.

There is already a plastic bag charge of 5p in Wales, in place since 2011, and a similar scheme in Northern Ireland for single use paper or plastic bags, which was introduced in April 2013.

However, MPs in Westminster from the Environmental Audit Select Committee accused the Government of ignoring calls to introduce a plastic carrier bag charge for all retailers in England. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs wanted to exempt small retailers from the carrier bag tax to support economic growth.

Matt Field

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