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Scottish shops start charging nike air max 90 womens for bags

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Marks and Spencer is one of the retailers that has agreed to donate the extra money from carrier bag sales to good causes in Scotland. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Scotland is joining Wales and Northern Ireland in charging shoppers for carrier bags , in an attempt to encourage sustainable behaviour among shoppers. Last year, shoppers at Scotland’s main supermarket chains alone used 800m single-use bags, most of which end up as litter, landfill or polluting the country’s marine and natural environments.

The minimum 5p charge applies to all bags, whether plastic, paper or biodegradable, and covers all retailers. Evidence from Wales and Northern nike air max 90 womens Ireland suggests that usage is likely to be cut by about 70%.

The Scottish environment secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: “Our carrier bag addiction is symptomatic of our throwaway culture and has serious implications for the environment.

“Huge numbers of these bags end up as litter, blighting our communities and clogging up our seas and natural habitats, affecting many sorts of wildlife and marine species in particular.”

Although proceeds from the charge belong to the retailer, Zero Waste Scotland, which is piloting the scheme, is encouraging shops to sign up to a voluntary agreement to donate the extra money to good causes in Scotland, particularly ones that benefit the environment.

Superdry, Marks & Spencer, the Co-operative Group and several other retailers have pledged to do so, with Tesco holding a public vote which decided to donate to the Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign.

But Patrick Harvie, an MSP and co-convenor of the Scottish Green party, said that the problem of disposable packaging needed to be tackled at source.

“We support the introduction of a small charge for the use of disposable plastic bags but would go further and support measures to reduce the amount of all disposable packaging currently in use. This problem needs to be tackled at its source.

“It should be the companies producing large amounts of disposable packaging for their products who are encouraged to reduce this practice. It is not just consumers who are responsible for creating a more sustainable society but business as well.”Describing the effect of the charge in Wales, where it was introduced in 2011, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, Gareth Clubb, said that it has had a phenomenal effect in reducing the number of plastic bags distributed by retailers but it had not succeeded in encouraging more sustainable behaviour among consumers.

“There is a sense amongst consumers that if you make a little change then you don’t have to worry about anything else. Politicians and the media keep telling people that they can make the move to a more sustainable society without making serious changes to their lifestyles.”