A spokesman for the Scottish Greens has admitted that, while the party supports new measures passed to charge 5p for carrier bags, “nobody in the Scottish Greens is hugely excited” by the new measures.
From the 20th of October, all retailers – not just food stores – have been required by law to charge a minimum of 5p for each single-use carrier bag they hand out. The new legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament is designed to combat litter and to help the local environment, with the top supermarkets in Scotland handing out more than 800 million carrier bags in one year alone.
This measure was initially introduced in Wales in 2011, where officials say positive effects on the local environment can already been seen. The charge of 5p is being donated by many retailers to good causes, many of which aim to help the environment, so it appears that the charge may be a double boost.
However, a spokesman for the Scottish Green party said, “we are supportive of the bag charge but nobody in the Scottish Greens is hugely excited by it. It would have been a bold policy 10 or 15 years ago but loads of other countries have done this and Scotland is really playing catch up.”
The Scottish Greens also feel that this new policy could be seen as a distraction from the work that really needs to be done to help the environment. The spokesman added, “It’s also a bit of token environmental policy when there are much more difficult things that need doing to reduce the overall levels of waste created, not to mention much broader problems like the 3 missed climate targets. Our general approach to waste is that far more attention should be paid to reducing its creation at source, and that manufacturers and retailers could do more in that regard.”
Image: Plastic bags © Zainub Razvi (zainub, flickr).