from Fiona Moriarty, director, Scottish Retail Consortium

Sir; We totally reject calls for the introduction of a plastic bag tax, as proposed by Mike Pringle MSP (The Grocer, June 11, p11).
While a tax would reduce the number of plastic bags in circulation, consumers would naturally switch to paper bags.
Independent research has shown that paper bags require a more intensive energy manufacturing process and are four times more voluminous in terms of transportation, resulting in increased fuel usage and distribution. They are also four times more expensive to produce.
The Bill can not be dressed up as a litter issue, either, as plastic bag litter accounts for less than one per cent of the total waste found on the streets and 0.3 per cent of waste going to landfill in Scotland.
Retailers currently undertake a number of environmental initiatives such as in-store collection and recycling of plastic bags, while offering viable alternatives in the shape of reusable ‘bags for life’.
If genuine customers refuse to pay the additional levy for plastic bags and leave retail premises with their goods in their hands, they could be vulnerable to thieves snatching items from them. This was certainly the case in Southern Ireland when the plastic bag tax was launched in 2002.