Scotland

Boost to good causes from Co-op carrier bag fund

Man carrying shopping bags Image copyright Getty Images

More than 800 good causes in Scotland are to receive a share of £750,000 raised through the sale of plastic bags in Co-op food stores.

The supermarket chain is distributing grants of up to £2,500 to local groups who have applied for funding.

The Co-op said requests had been made for a wide range of causes including defibrillators, day care centres and youth groups.

A mandatory carrier bag charge was introduced in Scotland in 2014.

Shoppers now have to pay a minimum of 5p per bag.

John McNeill, divisional managing director for the Co-operative Food in Scotland, said: "We want to enable members, customers, colleagues and communities across Scotland to make a difference locally.

"The Co-op shares the aspiration of seeing a reduction in the number of single-use carrier bags in circulation. In addition, hundreds of local groups and organisations are set to receive a much needed funding boost."

'New shopping habit'

Scotland's Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said Scotland had witnessed an "incredible" 80% reduction in single-use carrier bag usage since the charge was introduced in October 2014.

He added: "That's at least 650 million fewer bags. In the process, retailers have managed to raise an outstanding £7m for good causes across the country.

"With the carrier bag charge we want to reduce litter and improve Scotland's environment, but it's great to see how it has evolved and that worthy causes are benefiting from it too.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said it was clear that Scottish consumers had "embraced a new shopping habit".

He said: "The Co-op is a community retailer and its scheme illustrates how the carrier bag charge is not only benefitting the environment, but it is also making a positive difference in the communities where the money has been raised."

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