Iain Gulland: Retailers need bag policy advice

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New legislation passed by the Scottish Government will require all retailers to charge a minimum of 5p for every single-use carrier bag from October – including plastic, paper or plant-based.

Zero Waste Scotland welcomes the new charge, a positive step towards reducing the number of single-use carrier bags produced, used and disposed of – often ending up in landfill or as litter on our streets. Similar charges introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland have produced a 75-80 per cent reduction in the number of bags used.

Retailers will also have to record and report on the number of bags sold and the money received. Those who employ fewer than ten full-time staff will be exempt from reporting, although they will still have to charge for carrier bags.

We are on hand to provide support and information to all retailers, however big or small, to ensure a smooth transition to the new system of charging.

To help with this, Zero Waste Scotland is holding 12 evening training events for retailers across Scotland, including two dates in the Capital – on July 22 and August 11, both at the Jurys Inn.

The hour-long evening events will provide detailed information about how the regulations will work, and give retailers the chance to ask any questions.

Attendees will also learn about how Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland service can help reduce energy, water and raw material bills.

You’ll also hear about our Carrier Bag Commitment. This voluntary agreement asks businesses to donate to a good cause and record the number of bags sold and how the money was used, through a central portal. Signing up keeps the process of reporting simple, and provides retailers with access to bespoke marketing materials.

Retailers who can’t make it along to the events but want more information about the charging regime can visit our website, where they will find out more about how the charge will work, as well as the exemptions and requirements around reporting.

To book a place, visit our website www.zerowastescotland.org.uk or for more information on the carrier bag charge, visit www.carrierbagchargescotland.org.uk

• Iain Gulland is a director at Zero Waste Scotland