Shoppers in Moray are being reminded to take their own bags with them when they go shopping from today – or face a minimum 5p charge for carrier bags at the checkout.
New Scottish Government legislation comes into force from this morning that requires retailers to levy the minimum charge for each bag regardless of the size or type of shop.
Proceeds from the new charges will be allocated to local good causes chosen by the retailers themselves.
Moray MSP and Scotland’s Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, visited the Tesco store in Elgin ahead of the scheme’s launch.
He said: “I am extremely proud that this landmark legislation is now in force. Our carrier bag addiction is symptomatic of our throwaway culture and has serious implications for the environment.
“Huge numbers of these bags end us as litter, blighting our communities and clogging up our seas and natural habitats, affecting many sorts of wildlife and marine species in particular.”
Tesco’s Elgin branch say that they will donate proceeds from the levy to Keep Scotland Beautiful.
It has been estimated that in Scotland around 800million carrier bags are used each year, more per head of the population than in any other part of the UK.
Similar schemes have already been launched in Wales and Northern Ireland with each seeing a fall of 70% and 80% in carrier bag use as a result. A scheme launched in Denmark in 2003 has resulted in that country now having the lowest carrier bag use in Europe.
Lang Banks, the director of the WWF in Scotland, welcomed the move, saying: “According to the UN over a million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals are killed every year by the plastic littering our oceans.
“Single-use carrier bags are symbolic of our wasteful attitude to resource use which must be addressed if Scotland’s vision of a zero waste future is to be realised.”