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Big brands back Zero Waste Scotland’s carrier bag commitment

National campaign urges more retailers to report data and donate.

27 Feb 15

Today (27 February 2015), Zero Waste Scotland called on retailers across Scotland to become ‘founding signatories’ to Scotland’s Carrier Bag Commitment as high-profile retailers back the campaign to disclose carrier bag sales and donate money raised to good causes.

High-profile retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Argos, Waitrose, The Co-operative Food and McDonalds are joining Zero Waste Scotland’s Carrier Bag Commitment to release carrier bag sales and voluntarily donate the proceeds of the carrier bag charge to good causes in Scotland, including environmental charities and projects. Designer shops including Ted Baker, Jaegar, The Highland Soap Company and Austin Reed have pledged their support alongside charitable organisations like the Salvation Army and Scottish SPCA.

The full list of retailers, who will publicly disclose carrier bag sales and donate money raised to good causes, will be unveiled by Zero Waste Scotland on 20 April 2015; six months after the Scottish Government introduced the mandatory 5p single-use carrier bag charge to all Scottish retailers.

Before 20 April, Zero Waste Scotland, which is responsible for providing support to retailers around the charge, will be campaigning for businesses big and small to back Scotland’s Carrier Bag Commitment. This will include retailers in all parts of Scotland and across sectors from food to fashion.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “There’s incredible work taking place in communities across Scotland as a result of funds raised by the single-use carrier bag charge. It’s a chance for businesses to give something back by funding good causes.

“We’ve already seen a wide range of businesses in Scotland backing the Carrier Bag Commitment but there’s still time before we announce the ‘founding signatories’ for retailers to sign up. That’s why we’re urging retailers to support the Carrier Bag Commitment. It’s a legal requirement to record data if you’re a medium or large retailer, and ultimately it’s the best way to let shoppers know the impact the charge is having in their country.”

Over the coming months Zero Waste Scotland will be collecting data from businesses across Scotland and plans to release the first official figures later this year. Through the Carrier Bag Commitment, shoppers will be given a clear view of exactly how the funds raised through the 5p carrier bag charge are being used.

Taking reusable bags to the shops has increasingly become second nature to many shoppers across Scotland. Indeed, anecdotal reports from supermarket chains noted huge drops of up to 90% in the use of single-use carrier bags in the months following the introduction of legislation in Scotland.

John McNeill, regional stores director for The Co-operative Food in Scotland, said: “We are passionate about reducing the number of single-use carrier bags used in our stores and reinvest profits from our entire carrier bag range, and not just the 5p charge on single-use carrier bags, to good causes.  Already, we are well on track to raise our target of £750,000 to fund local good causes in Scotland.

“As a community retailer, we are at the heart of people’s local communities and we’ve given our members the opportunity to choose the community projects they want to support.  Together we will reduce, reuse, recycle and reinvest in our communities.”

Andrew Johnson, manager of Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, said: “It’s a great way to do some good, over and above the obvious environmental benefits of producing less waste. The nice thing about the Carrier Bag Commitment is that it is not for a one off event: it applies every day, all year, and we anticipate that there will be a significant amount raised annually for our chosen charity. We also know our visitors will approve of the small cost of their carrier bags being donated to a good cause. This year we are delighted to support CCLASP, an Edinburgh based children's charity that helps support children with cancer and leukaemia, and their families.”


The 5p charge was introduced as part of the Government’s ongoing drive to reduce the levels of litter in Scotland.  Whilst reducing the number of single-use carrier bags sold will vastly decrease the number discarded as litter, it is crucial that work continues to repair the damage that has already been done. For this reason, Zero Waste Scotland has launched its Carrier Bag Commitment. 

By signing up to the Commitment, signatories gain access to Zero Waste Scotland’s reporting portal which is an easy way of meeting the legal obligation to record data on the number of bags sold, amount raised and how the proceeds were used, which applies to retailers employing 10 or more full-time equivalent staff.

Signatories can register for more information at carrierbagcommitment.org.uk and full details of the Carrier Bag Commitment can be found at carrierbagchargescotland.org.uk

Shoppers can access further information about the single-use carrier bag charge by visiting greenerscotland.org/cleanerscotland/carrier-bags

For more information please contact Shaun Bell or Simon Ebbett at Stripe Communications on 0131 561 8628 or shoppingbags@stripecommunications.com

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