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Single-Use Carrier Bag Charge Coming to Scotland Soon!

Key things you need to know about the Carrier Bag Charge in Scotland. From 20th October, shoppers will be charged 5p per single-use bag. Are you ready and how can retailers take advantage of this change?

Single-Use Carrier Bag Charge Coming to Scotland Soon!
The independence referendum is the big news from Scotland, but there is another news story that also means a big change for Scottish retailers and shoppers. 

From 20th October 2014, shoppers will be charged at least 5p for each single-use carrier bags they use when they go shopping. 

Do you run a retail business in Scotland? Do you know what the carrier bag charge means for your business and your customers? 


The key things you need to know about the single use carrier bag charge in Scotland:

Often called the ‘plastic bag charge' - however, the Scottish legislation doesn't just apply to plastic bags. It’s any carrier bag that is only good for a single-use.  

- Single-use bags made from paper or natural starch will also be subject to a 5p charge. However, small paper bags do not apply. 

- Bags made from plant based material will also apply, with the exception of reusable Bags for Life made from hard-wearing natural fibres such as cotton, flax, hemp, jute or sisal

All retailers must charge for single-use carrier bags – this differs from the ban in England which only applies to larger retailers. 


 - Customers will be charged a minimum of 5p per bag. The proceeds will belong to the business that collects it but the Scottish Government is strongly pushing for all profits to be donated to good causes. 

- All businesses that employ more than 10 full time staff, need to record & supply information about bags sold and monies received. 

For full details on how the charge will work see Carrier Bag Charge Scotland

Will the ban lead to a rise in Bag for Life use? 

More carrier bags are used per head in Scotland than other part of the UK.  As the graph shows, both Wales and Northern Ireland have seen a huge drop in the use of single-use plastic bags since the carrier bag charge was introduced. 

This drop has also helped to contribute to a massive 70% rise in the use of Bags for Life  in UK’s supermarkets in the past 7 years

And that is just the supermarkets – that doesn't include all the small, medium and indie retailers out there who are leveraging the promotional power of a Bag for Life. 

A reusable Bag for Life are something all retailers can benefit from. They help to get your retail brand out there and each time your customers reuse the bag, they are promoting your brand and acting like a walking advert!  


Want some ideas on creating a Reusable Bag for Life for your retail business? 

If you would like to create a branded reusable Bag for Life but not sure where to begin, then we can help!  Check out the following resources: 

Read case studies & find out about the business benefits of using a branded Bag for Life for retail, fashion & high street

Bag for Life Blogs - Read our blogs about using a Bag for Life for marketing your business

Visit our Information Centre for downloadable resources & guides on materials, design, styles, print techniques, order checklists & more! 


Find out more about the Scottish Carrier Bag Charge


BBC News Scotland: Scottish Government plans charge for plastic bags 

Scotsman: Jane Bradley – Plastic bag ban better than a tax

Carrier Bag Charge Scotland



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