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Carrier bag charge in force from today

20 October 2014

The compulsory charge for providing carrier bags in Scottish shops comes into force from today, 20 October.

Retailers must impose a levy of a minimum of 5p – how much they actually charge is up to them – for single use bags (those intended to be ised on one occasion only), whether made from plastic, paper or other material. 

Exemptions apply for bags of any size used solely to contain exempted items, including loose fruit and vegetables, bakery items, pick and mix sweets, dry animal food, and unpackaged loose seeds and bulbs. Bags can also be supplied free of charge for products dispensed by a qualified pharmacist, and certain sharp items if not enclosed in wrapping apart from being mounted on cardboard.

There is also an exemption for bags not exceeding a certain size, used solely to contain packaged uncooked meat, poultry and fish.

However the exemptions are only valid where the bag provided is used solely to contain exempted items.

Small bags can continue to be supplied free of charge for items such as greeting cards, and small hardware or haberdashery items.

Local authorities have been given the duty to enforce the regulations, but retailers employing 10 or more full time equivalent staff have to keep records of the number of bags issued and the amount charged.

The Scottish Government is encouraging retailers to donate the proceeds from the charge to good causes in Scotland, particularly environmental good causes. 

Click here for further details about the charge.


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