Carrier bag charge

A NEW LAW comes into force on Monday dictating that all shops in Scotland must charge at least 5p for every single-use carrier bag they provide to customers.

Scotland currently uses 750 million bags each year, and the requirement to charge is aimed at encouraging shoppers to think about reusing bags – in turn preventing litter, combating the country’s “throwaway culture” and making using “bags for life” a habit wherever practicable.


The charge will apply to almost all single use carrier bags – whether made of plastic or paper – in any shop, not just grocery stores, although there are some exemptions.

Advice is that the easiest way to avoid the charge is to take your own bags with you when you shop.

Shetland Islands Council’s trading standards team leader David Marsh said all shops should have received a pack from Zero Waste Scotland in June containing information and display materials.

“Some shops have been contacting us this week to say that they haven’t received the pack,” Marsh said. “We’d like to reassure them that all the information they need is available online. If retailers haven’t received a pack, or would like more materials, everything is available to download from www.carrierbagchargescotland.org.uk.”    

  • Anyone – whether a business or a consumer – who wants to know more can also get advice from the SIC’s trading standards department online, by calling (01595) 744887 or in person at the council’s office on the ground floor of Charlotte House, Lerwick.