Scotland’s carrier bag charge comes into force

A new 5p charge for every new single-use carrier bag came into force across Scotland on Monday, October 20, 2014.
A new 5p charge for every new single-use carrier bag came into force across Scotland on Monday, October 20, 2014.

Shoppers on Bute, and across Scotland, will now have to pay a 5p charge for every new single-use carrier bag in which they put their shopping.

The new charge, which came into force on Monday morning, applies to all types of carrier bag - including biodegradable paper bags - and to all sizes of shop, from supermarkets to takeaways and clothes stores.

For Bute shoppers, the Co-operative Food has already promised that all the proceeds from the new charge - along with all the profits from its entire carrier bag range, including woven bags and ‘bags for life’ - will be reinvested in good causes.

Other retailers have pledged to follow a similar path - Tesco, for example, will donate the proceeds from the charge to Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Exemptions from the charge apply to the following items:

* Bags containing items contaminated with soil

* Medical or pharmacy prescription bags

* Bags containing free promotional material, such as brochures from a travel agent

* Very small paper and plastic bags (check with your retailer if unsure)

* Bags containing unpackaged foods e.g. bakeries, fast foods, pick ‘n’ mix sweets, butchers, pet shops

* Bags containing only loose seeds, bulbs or tubers

* Bags containing packaged meat, poultry and fish

* Bags supplied with a service (such as dry cleaning, shoe repair, jewellery, re-heeled shoes, altered clothes, watch repairs as long as you don’t then buy something which you put in the bag

* Bags containing unpackaged blades

The statutory levy is already in place in Wales and Northern Ireland. More detail on the scheme in Scotland is available by clicking here.