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Tesco asks customers to choose which charity receives its carrier bag levy proceeds



Supermarket giant Tesco has invited its customers to decide which charity should get the proceeds of its new plastic carrier bag charge.

From October 20, Scotland will follow the lead of Wales in introducing a 5p charge for carrier bags, in a bid to cut waste and boost recycling.

Tesco say they expect the charges to raise £1.8 million from the two countries, and have asked their customers to vote for the charity they want to see the funds donated to.

Some 120 organisations applied for the funding, and the supermarket has now whittled them down to a shortlist of four.  

In Scotland, customers can choose between Love Food Hate Waste, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Groundwork UK. In Wales, the options are either Groundwork UK or Keep Wales Tidy.

The winner in Scotland is expected to bag around £1 million, while the Welsh levy is thought to be worth around £800,000. The two winners will also partner with Tesco for 12 months.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for organisations to partner with us and make a real difference to the communities they serve,” said Greg Sage, community director for Tesco.

“Our customers are the ones who will pay the charge, so we really wanted them to choose the partners that will benefit from the money.” 

Commenting on the announcement Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, added, “It’s a great example of a major retailer using the requirement to charge a minimum of 5p for a single-use carrier bag, which comes into force in October, to help support good causes. 

“We’d like to see as many retailers as possible taking the opportunity to support good causes with the proceeds from carrier bag sales in the future, by signing up to our Carrier Bag Commitment.”

The voting process will run for two weeks, and the winning organisations will be announced soon afterwards.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the government will implement a charge of 5p for plastic bags in big supermarkets from October 2015. 

This delay has been criticised by environmental campaigners after recent figures revealed UK supermarkets gave out 8.3 billion bags in 2013 – the fourth year in a row the number has risen.

Photo: osde8info via Flickr

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Further reading:

Plastic bag use in England rises for fourth year running

European Parliament backs clamp down on plastic bags

5p charge on plastic bag is ‘a mess’, says committee

Study: plastic pollution not limited to oceans

Shoppers to be charged 5p for plastic bags