- 650 million fewer bags used — in one year. That's what Scotland is claiming as the impact of charging 5p (about a nickel) for a plastic shopping bag.
- The £67m saved (or $103.5 million) has gone to "good causes," according to The Guardian.
- The reduction of 650 million bags (an 80% reduction) equals a net annual saving of more than 4,000 metric tons of plastic and other materials, as well as 2,500 metric tons of CO2.
Legislation seems to be key difference between Scotland and the U.S. when it comes to bag usage and fees. The Scottish Parliament made the fee the law of the land in October of last year. In the U.S., cities and states still grapple with whether to charge a fee, how much to charge, and what happens to the fees after they are collected. Some cities have decided to just ban plastic bags all together to prevent the bags from reaching landfills or jamming MRF equipment.
Although it has not yet been made clear where Scotland's bag fees are being used, retailers are urged to sign up to Scotland's "carrier bag commitment" and reveal information on the charges and donations made with the fees. This will ensure trust with consumers that the charges are being put to beneficial uses. In the United States, bag fees in cities like Washington, D.C. have been used for river clean-up funds, water protection funds, and reusable bag programs that will promote educational programs.