By Daniel Hunter
A focus on carrier bags, which account for only a tiny percentage of household waste, shouldn't be allowed to distract efforts from the bigger environmental goals currently being pursued by retailers, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) says.
Ahead of the Scottish Government launching a consultation on a carrier bag tax, the SRC says it is also concerned the move would penalise consumers.
"Retailers share the ambitions of the Scottish Government to reduce the use of carrier bags where possible — it's something we've been working on for years with a great deal of success," Ian Shearer, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said.
"But despite their symbolic status, carrier bags are not the great environmental evil they're often made out to be. Plastic bags account for a fraction of one per cent of household waste and today's bags use 70 per cent less plastic than 20 years ago. Retailers are, rightly, more concerned with tackling bigger environmental goals such as reducing the carbon footprint of thousands of everyday products which are responsible for around 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
"An obsession with carrier bags mustn't get in the way of the much more significant green goals retailers and households are working towards. We're also concerned about any move which penalises shoppers at a time household budgets are under great strain.
"If the Government's determined to legislate on this then it's essential the burden on retailers and customers is kept to a minimum. Following and learning any lessons from the approach already in place in Wales would at least be consistent."
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