The number of plastic bags handed out by major Scottish retailers has fallen by around 650 million since a 5p charge was brought in a year ago, according to statistics released on 20 October.
The levy has prompted an 80 per cent reduction in plastic bag use since it was introduced last year and has also generated around £6.7 million for good causes, the Scottish Government said, hailing the initiative as a “major success”.
Morrisons, the Co-operative, Waitrose and Boots all reported an estimated 80 per cent reduction in carrier bag use in Scotland, with Asda witnessing a drop of 90 per cent. Sainsbury’s no longer offers plastic bags to customers.
The Scottish Government said the reduction amounted to a net saving of more than 4,000 tonnes of plastic and other materials each year, as well as a net carbon saving of more than 2,500 tonnes of CO2 annually.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said reusing carrier bags had become “second nature” for shoppers. “I thank Scotland for embracing this policy and showing we’re serious about tackling litter, reducing waste and creating a cleaner, greener environment for everyone to enjoy,” he added.
The policy was introduced in Scotland on 20 October last year. A similar levy was brought in earlier this month in England, but Wales led the way by introducing the charge in 2011.