Carrier Bag Charges

From 20th October 2014, the Single Use Carrier Bag (Scotland) Regulations will come in to effect.

From 20th October 2014, the Single Use Carrier Bag (Scotland) Regulations will come in to effect.

From the 20th October 2014, all Scottish retailers must charge their customers a minimum of 5p when using new, single use carrier bags. This charge includes bags made from plastic, paper, or plant based material.

Who do the new Regulations apply to, and what is the charge?

The Carrier Bag Charge Scotland legislation applies to ALL business, food and non-food, who hand out single use carrier bags to their customers. A minimum levy of 5p per single use bag must be charged. This includes bags made from plastic, paper, and plant based materials. The charge applies for in-store or online shopping where goods are sold or delivered into Scotland.

Are there any exemptions?

Yes. There are certain exemptions for particular products, and also for size of single use carrier bags used. A full list of exemptions can be found on the on the Carrier Bag Regulation pages hosted by Zero Waste Scotland.

(Supermarkets should not be charging their customers that need extra bags to cover raw meat products or cleaning products such as toilet cleaners.) Click here and scroll to page three to vie all the exemptions.

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What reporting is required?

If you employ 10 or more full time (or equivalent full time) staff across your business, you will be required to keep records of the number of bags issued, and the charges collected. Retailers can sign up to the Carrier Bag Commitment, which is a free reporting tool to manage compliance with the new Regulations.

Further information on the records which must be kept, and the reporting of data, visit the FAQ section of the Carrier Bag Charge Scotland website.

Why has this legislation been put in place?

Currently, Scotland uses more single use carrier bags per person than any other part of the UK. The issues with this type of bag, is that they are a common source of litter, which can pose a threat to our environment either by endangering wild life, or pollution of water courses. Single use carrier bags are also a very visible source of litter, and are a clear representation of our throw-away society.

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The introduction of the Single Use Carrier Bag Charge is hoped to help prevent litter, and combat Scotland’s throw-away society. Similar charges introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland have seen a reduction in single use carrier bags by 75% and 80% respectively.

Who have introduced the regulations?

The Scottish Government have created these Regulations through the Climate Change Act with the intention of reducing visible litter and changing public behaviour.

Zero Waste Scotland is the body responsible for working with retailers in helping them manage regulatory change. Zero Waste Scotland are providing business support materials to inform shoppers in-store as well as training resources (including a video) to help with staff engagement.

Perth & Kinross Council are responsible for ensuring businesses are meeting the requirements set out in the Regulations.

What support is available to businesses?

Zero Waste Scotland have set up the Carrier Bag Charge Scotland website which contains various resources to help your business with the new Regulations. On this website you will find:

  • staff training video
  • full retail guidance
  • an online FAQ database
  • poster, billboard, and other advertising artwork
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