Carrier bag charges have come into effect

Shoppers are now having to pay for carrier bags following the introduction of a minimum charge on Monday of this week.

It now costs at least 5p for each single-use carrier bag, as the charge covers all retailers including supermarkets, high street stores, corner shops and takeaways.

The charge applies regardless of whether the bags are paper, plastic or made from a biodegradable material.

MSPs overwhelmingly backed the introduction of the charge in a vote at Holyrood earlier this year.

The Scottish Government said councils pick up an estimated 7.4 million bags a year and the charge has been introduced to reduce the number that become litter.

Figures have shown similar charges, introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland, saw drops in new bag use of around 80% and 70% respectively, environmental groups said.

Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland which is supporting retailers to help them understand their legal requirements under the new regulations, said: “In Scotland, we use hundreds of millions of single-use bags a year - an absurdity when you consider the resources used to make and transport an item for one use, before ending up as landfill or litter.”

Here are a selection of your views from our Facebook page

Claire Clark: “Fantastic idea both in terms of environment and litter. Am fed up with removing carrier bags from my front garden after lunchtimes when the children from Mackie come past, get their lunch from the Co-op and then come back along throwing bags and litter every which way.”

In response to Claire, Gavin Harper said: “Doubt 5p will stop that happening tho. Kids will be kids.”

Carol Marshall: “Asda have also got one rate of 5p per bag but if you have more than six then its a flat rate 30p, no matter how many bags make up your shop. Markies have been charging for their carriers for the past year and its not stopped me purchasing 0ne or two.”

Linda Lawson: “Not before time! Plastic bags are seen lying everywhere. Take a walk into country & they’re hanging from trees, fence posts etc. Think charge should have been higher.”

Elaine Wightman: “I think everyone probably has a cupboard or drawer full at home anyway.”

Kay Kuszpit: “Honestly, I think they should be banned outright. This charging for bags won’t stop the litter louts, they’ll drop them anyway. Instead of trying to kid the general public that this is to reduce litter and our carbon footprint, why not just take the option away and force people to either buy their goods loose or keep hold of recyclable cotton bags? Never did the older generation any harm.”

If you’d like to add your view, send a letter to the editor or send your views to or tweet us your views on twitter @themearnsleader.