It is estimated that around 750 million plastic bags are used every year in Scotland. For a while now some supermarkets like M&S , Aldi and Lidl have been charging their customers for plastic bags whilst others such as Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys have not.
But as from October 2014 the Scottish Government has confirmed it will introduce a 5p levy on all plastic bags. The reasoning behind this is to reduce bag use and raise £5m for good causes each year.
Mr Lochhead the Environment Secretary said “Carrier bags are a highly visible aspect of litter and we are taking decisive action to decrease their number. By reducing the amount being carelessly discarded we can cut litter and its impact on our environment and economy.” He further stated that “A small charge should also encourage us all to stop and think about what we discard and what we can re-use.”
The CBI, however, have expressed their concern, a spokesman claiming “Modest economic growth coupled with a continuing shift to internet shopping is making conditions challenging for the high street which is already feeling the ill-effects of the Scottish government’s £95 million retail rates surcharge and its £36m rates levy on empty shops and other premises. This is going to cause costly red tape when in fact by voluntary means carrier bag use has fallen by 40%”.
But I am for this levy. Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They clog waterways, spoil the landscape and end up in landfills where they may take hundreds of years to break down into even smaller particles that continue to pollute the soil and water.
Plastic bags also pose a serious danger to birds and marine animals who often mistake them for food. Thousands die each year after swallowing or choking on discarded bags.
Finally producing plastic bags requires millions of gallons of petroleum that could be used for transportation or heating.
All our staff at Mitchells Roberton are given a reusable shopping bag when they start with us so we are already giving green a chance.