Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Scottish carrier bag charge approved by Scottish Government - thank you Sea Champions!

We're pleased to see overwhelming support for 5p bag charge amongst politicians in Scotland, following vote in Scottish parliament. 

You hard work has certainly paid off - Sea Champions across Scotland encouraged hundreds of people to take part in the consultation to gather support for a single-use carrier bag charge.

You helped us get the word out at 160 face to face people engagement events and talks, at countless beach cleans, and at our turtles roadshow which so far has engaged over 1,100 kids, parents and teachers on the issue. We really couldn't have done this without you!

The charge on single-use carrier bags will be introduced by law across Scotland in October this year. MSPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of going ahead with the charge in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

The 5p charge will be applied to all single use carrier bags provided by retailers to shoppers from October 20th 2014. It applies to bags of any material provided for single use, not just to plastic bags. The net proceeds from the charge will be expected to be given to good causes, according to the Scottish Government.

"It is reassuring to see just how many MSPs backed the charge, with 100 voting in favour to only 12 against," Calum Duncan, Scotland Programme Manager for MCS says. "The charge was announced over a year ago, for which MCS and partner organisations had been advocating for many years, but this overwhelming vote is a real endorsement. We look forward to recording fewer discarded bags during our Beachwatch cleans and surveys in future."

Richard Lochhead, Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment said "We want to promote the reuse of bags and other items in our society, to help get the most out of our increasingly limited resources and to cut carbon emissions. Placing a value on bags challenges our throwaway society".

A similar charge is due to be applied to plastic carrier bags in England in Autumn 2015, but MCS wants to see a commitment made for all single-use bags and all retailers, not just larger ones, to be included under this. MCS and partner organisations also want to see plastic bag use go down before this date - you can pledge to Break the Bag Habit in England.


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