Addiction is symptomatic of our throwaway culture

The 5p charge on carrier bags started on October 20
The 5p charge on carrier bags started on October 20
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Shoppers in Linlithgow, Bo’ness and Queensferry have had to think twice about accepting carrier bags with their purchases after the government introduced a five pence tax earlier this week.

Under the new legislation, which already exists in Wales and the Republic of Ireland, all retailers are now expected to start charging for single use carrier bags in an attempt to reduce litter and landfill.

Richard Holligan, a spokesman for Tesco said: “The charge has been going well so far.

“People seem to understand what the legislation is for and have risen to the challenge of bringing in their own bags. As far as I’ve seen there haven’t been any complaints in store.

“Customers are happy that Tesco is donating the money raised from bag charges to Keep Scotland Beautiful.”

The reaction from local customers, however, has been mixed.

Janice Scott labelled the measure “a stupid waste of time” and raised concerns that charities wouldn’t actually receive much in donations from supermarkets.

Liz Paton was also sceptical about the levy. She said: “I always have doggy bags and cloth bags in the car so now I will remember to take them in with me. I wouldn’t want to pay five pence for a carrier bag as they’re so thin – even milk bursts through them!”

Other shoppers were more supportive of the new regulations.

Donna Jeffrey said: “I can’t believe people are still moaning about this.

“It’s not unfair to be asked to stop littering the Scottish countryside with plastic rubbish. Just fold a wee bag and stick it in your handbag or car boot – job done”.

The nation’s consumption of plastic bags stands at 800 million per year, many of which end up littering the streets or in landfill sites.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Our carrier bag addiction is symptomatic of our throwaway culture and has serious implications for the environment.

“We want that to change and for people to stop and think about whether they really need to take another bag. Alternatives like bags for life are easy to get and are much more sustainable.”