Zero Waste Scotland launches Carrier Bag Commitment for retailers

Zero Waste Scotland has launched the Carrier Bag Commitment for Scottish retailers at the multi award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, ahead of the introduction of carrier bag charging from 20th October.

1 Jul 14

New legislation passed by the Scottish Government will require all retailers to charge a minimum of 5p for every single-use carrier bag from 20th October 2014.

Zero Waste Scotland is supporting Scottish businesses to help them understand their responsibilities. The Carrier Bag Commitment will recognise businesses who donate the proceeds from the bag charge to good causes, and all retailers are being urged to sign-up, free of charge.

The Scottish Seabird Centre, which has a Discovery Centre, Seabird Café and gift shop, only uses paper bags made from recycled materials. Today it became the first charity to sign up to the commitment, which means that money raised from its bags will allow the centre to further invest in its work as an environmental education and conservation charity.

The Scottish Grocers Federation also became the first major retailer body to sign up to the Carrier Bag Commitment.

Companies who have signed up to the Carrier Bag Commitment include McDonalds, Marks and Spencer, The Co-operative Group, Holland and Barrett, Scotmid and RS Components.

Signatories commit to donating their proceeds from the charge to good causes in Scotland, which may include environmental causes, and reporting on how many bags they’ve sold and how the money has been used. In return they’ll be able to use dedicated reporting tools to simplify the process, and take part in communications activities which promote their business and the good causes they are supporting.

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland said:

“I am delighted to meet with our first signatories today, from the Scottish Seabird Centre and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, who are putting their names to Zero Waste Scotland’s Carrier Bag Commitment. I urge all retailers in Scotland to consider signing up to the commitment – it’s quick, easy, transparent, and provides great publicity for your business and the good causes you choose to support.  

“Zero Waste Scotland backs the carrier bag charge as a means to reduce the number of single-use bags in circulation, which often end up as litter in our streets or seas. We are rolling out a programme of support to Scottish retailers over the summer and beyond to help them understand the proposed carrier bag regulations, and to make the necessary changes in their business. Any retailer with any questions should visit our dedicated website or contact us directly.”


Tom Brock, CEO, Scottish Seabird Centre, said:

“Conservation and the environment are at the heart of what we do. I strongly recommend and encourage all retailers, visitor attractions and other businesses who issue single use bags to sign up as a priority.

“The charge for bags is very welcome: single-use carrier bags and the litter they cause harm our wonderful wildlife and Scotland’s outstanding natural environment. This charge will hopefully encourage more people to recycle and re-use wherever possible. It is a great win/win. It will help wildlife, the environment, businesses, Scotland’s tourism industry and can support the important work of environmental charities.”

John Lee, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Scottish Grocers’ Federation said:

“Convenience store retailers are committed to reducing the numbers of carrier bags used by shoppers and protecting Scotland’s natural environment. The Scottish Government has taken a very collaborative approach to developing the carrier bag commitment and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation is happy to support the commitment.”

Zero Waste Scotland is delivering a programme of support to Scottish retailers in advance of the charge being introduced. This includes printed information being sent to all retailers, big and small, in Scotland in July, giving them full details about how the single-use carrier bag charge will work. Retailers can access further information online and using the FAQ database. A series of Regional Retailer Regulation training events are taking place with a supporting staff training video freely available online.

For more information about how the charge will work, retailers can visit a website dedicated to the charge,

Or for specific questions, contact

Notes For Editors

For more information contact:

Claire Munro, PR Manager, Zero Waste Scotland

e: t: 01786 239791 m: 07702976594

Close Search

Search form