Commenting on the introduction of the Carrier Bag Levy, Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon:

“Experience from Northern Ireland and Wales suggests that charging for plastic bags will cut down on their use by 70-80%.

“It is vital that our attitudes towards using and throwing away valuable resources improve if we are to reduce our impact on the environment and wildlife.

“Plastic bags are just one symbol of our ‘throwaway society’ and charging for their use is an important step in changing people’s behaviour.

“If the Scottish public don’t respond positively to this then we should examine other options including increasing the charge per bag or phasing out the sale of single-use plastic bags.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The Scottish Parliament has passed legislation that will require ALL retailers (food and non-food) to charge a minimum of 5p for each new single-use carrier bag (including paper, those made from some plant based materials and plastic), from 20th October 2014. The aim is to encourage bag re-use and reduce the visible impact of litter. http://carrierbagchargescotland.org.uk

2. Carrier bag charges have been successfully implemented in other parts of the UK, with bag use in Wales reduced by 75% and Northern Ireland by 80%. There are plans for similar measures in England next year and action across the whole EU-looks increasingly likely. http://carrierbagchargescotland.org.uk/faqs/

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is

* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.