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Scottish Government plans [1] to tackle the blight of plastic carrier bags were welcomed by WWF Scotland today (Monday 15 August).

The environmental group said that it hoped the consultation announced today results in some form of plastic bag levy, as it was clear that voluntary initiatives were not enough.

Dr Dan Barlow, Head of Policy WWF Scotland said:

"Single use carrier bags are symbolic of our wasteful attitude to resource use which must be addressed if Scotland's vision of a zero waste future is to be realised. Each year in Scotland nearly 600 million carrier bags are used, squandering non-renewable resources, polluting our environment, threatening wildlife and taking decades to break down in landfills.

"Recent data for Scotland reveals a 9 per cent increase in plastic bags use and it is clear that a voluntary approach is not enough. [2] Charging for plastic bags has been highly successful in changing behaviour and cutting use elsewhere. Scotland should quickly follow Northern Ireland and Wales who are already planning to introduce such a charge.

"Green taxes can have a significant roll to play in helping to change behaviour well beyond plastic bags. As Scotland moves forward to deliver a low carbon future a greater role for regulation rather than voluntary action will be required."

WWF is working with Marks & Spencer to help further reduce the retailer's use of plastic bags. [3]

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] Scottish Government Press: Tough action on carrier bags

Scottish Government plans consultation to tackle carrier bag problem

Plans to tackle the blight of plastic carrier bags on Scotland's landscape took a step forward today as the Scottish Government announced plans to consult on ways to reduce single use plastic carrier bags.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/08/15113204

[2]

[3] Through charging 5p for each food shopping bag, M&S has reduced its use of plastic bags by 80% in the last three years. The aim is to reduce this even further - to 90% - over the next three years. In turn the retailer is using some of the money raised by the sale of any remaining bags to support the work of several charities including WWF.

WWF will use its share of the funds on projects that help better manage UK fish stocks, such as cod, and protect important species such as dolphins and turtles.

More details here: http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=4978