Accessibility Skip to main content

Shopping charges are in the bag!

 06 October 2014  |  

The cost of shopping is set to get a little bit higher from 20 October, if you don't start re-using carrier bags for your goods.

The Scottish Government has introduced the mandatory charge to encourage the re-use of plastic bags and reduce the number being thrown away. The law will now require most business to charge a minimum of 5p for each new carrier bag they supply to customers.

And the charge doesn't just apply at supermarkets and grocers, it applies everywhere from supermarkets and corner shops to takeaways and clothes shops – even online shopping, or 'click and collect'.

It might not seem a lot, but the charge came into force in Wales in 2011 and Northern Ireland in 2013 – and the number of plastic bags being issued dropped by 75% and 80% respectively 

800 million carrier bags are used by Scottish shoppers every year – that equals twelve bags per person a month and more per head of population than anywhere else in the UK.

Councillor John McDowall, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and Environment said: "Across Scotland, Council litter collectors pick up an estimated 7.4 million bags a year.

"That's almost 3,000 bags every day – or 365 bags every hour of an average working day – so imagine how much money we could save, if people re-used their plastic bags?

"Bags for life are also available cheaply at many supermarkets, with most offering a free replacement if it wears out."

The money raised by the new charge will be donated to good causes which could receive up to £5 million a year through the scheme. Retailers can make their donation pledge by signing up to the Carrier Bag Commitment at:

Any business needing more information on how the new law will affect them, can contact the Council on 0300 123 0900, or visit the Council's website at:

Weekly newsletter

Follow us