The Herald

Huge rise in litter after start of carrier bag charge

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LITTER has increased across Scotland since the Government launched a new strategy two years ago, it has been revealed.

According to the survey, supermarke­t bag litter is up 38 per cent since 2014 despite the introducti­on of the carrier-bag charge during the same period.

The analysis, commission­ed by the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environmen­t (Incpen), was conducted by Keep Scotland Beautiful at 120 sites in Edinburgh, Falkirk, Renfrewshi­re and Inverness in October 2016.

Smaller items such as cigarette butts and gum made up the bulk of the total litter count, while larger pieces were comprised of paper (nine per cent), sweet wrappers (six per cent), Irn Bru cans (six per cent), plastic soft drink bottles (six per cent) and cigarette packets (four per cent).

The carrier-bag charge was introduced in Scotland in October 2014 while the Scottish Government launched its campaign Towards a Litter Free Scotland in June of the same year.

However, the study suggests charges have not changed people’s behaviour with carrier bags representi­ng less than 0.5 per cent of the total litter count.

It also found the number of plastic bags found had risen while other items with no charge had fallen, with drinks containers decreasing by 18 per cent and coffee cups by 36 per cent.

Jane Bickerstaf­fe, chief executive of Incpen, which opposed the introducti­on of the carrier-bag charge, said: “Two years on from the introducti­on of the carrier-bag charge in Scotland and numerous campaigns to tackle litter, the problem is as bad as ever. This charge is not reducing the amount people

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