On 20 October the Carrier Bag Charge Scotland regulations come in to force, these regulations mean that all retailers will have to charge a minimum of 5p for each single use carrier bag they supply to you. Single use carrier bags are not just the plastic bags you get at supermarkets and convenience stores, but can also include paper bags.
There are lots of exceptions to the regulations as you can see below, but for the general public shopping in local stores, from the 20 October you will be charged a minimum of 5p for each single use carrier bag that you use.
It is worth noting[quote_box_center]The proceeds of the regulations belong to the retailer with no obligation as to how they should be used. The Scottish Government would like to see retailers using these proceeds to help fund good causes, especially ones with an environmental benefit, but this is a matter for individual retailers.[/quote_box_center]
So you could ask the retailers you use how they are spending the proceeds of charges.
The Carrier Bag Charge Scotland Regulations
The definition of a single use carrier bag is
Made of thin plastic (any part of the bag has a thickness of no more than 49 microns) or Less than 439mm x 404mm when laid flat (excluding the handles).
Other plastic bags, bags made wholly or mainly from paper, plant based material (other than cotton, flax, hemp, jute or sisal) or natural starch are also seen as single use carrier bags, unless the bag is a multi-use bag which is
- Purchased by the customer;
- Returnable to the retailer from whom it was purchased to be replaced free of charge when it is worn out;
- Clearly marked that it can be returned and replaced in this way.
Certain small bags such as ones used for raw meat, fish and poultry are never seen as single use carrier bags and can therefore always be provided free of charge.
The following are also exempt from the regulation
- Small paper bags, no greater than 175mm x 260mm, without a handle and/or a gusset. These types of bags are generally used for small items such as greeting cards.
- Small paper bags, no greater than 155mm x 80mm, without a handle but with a gusset of no more than 50mm. These types of bags are generally used for pick and mix confectionary or in pharmacies for non-prescription medicines.
- Small flat plastic bags, no greater than 125mm x 125mm, without a handle. These types of bags are usually used for small hardware or haberdashery items such as screws or buttons.
There are further exemptions for larger bags for
- Unpackaged food for human or animal consumption; such as loose fruit and vegetables, bakery items, pick and mix sweets and dry animal food.
- Unpackaged loose seeds, bulbs, corms or rhizomes, such as grass seeds, daffodil bulbs or root ginger.
- Any unpackaged axe, knife, knife blade or razor blades; such as a kitchen knife which is mounted on cardboard but not then enclosed in wrapping.
- Unpackaged goods contaminated by soil; such as soil, compost, potted plants, fishing bait and wormery worms.
- Certain medicinal products; such as fulfilling prescription requests and pharmacy medication which can only be dispensed by a qualified pharmacist.
For more information visit the Carrier Bag Charge Scotland website.