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One Year On – The Scottish Carrier Bag Levy

20 October 2015
Feature Brand

Caring for our environment is very important to us, and while we’ve only just seen the introduction of the carrier bag levy in England; in Scotland, one year on, we’ve witnessed a very positive effect in our stores. During this time:

  •          There has been an estimated reduction of around 80% in carrier bag usage
  •          This equates to estimated 18 million fewer plastic bags used
  •          During the six months following the introduction, over £77,000 was donated to Macmillan Cancer Support specifically for its work supporting people affected by cancer in Scotland

Stephen Watkins, Head of Customer Experience North & East Scotland, Boots UK, comments: “We want to help our customers care for the environment while making a difference in their local communities. We’ve seen a really positive effect in our stores in Scotland since the introduction of the levy in 2014, with a massive reduction in carrier bag usage. We’ve also been able to offer significant support to Macmillan Cancer Support and the important work that they do for those affected by cancer in Scotland. Scotland was the first region in the UK where we introduced reusable carrier bags for our customers, and we’re thrilled that learnings from this have been applied across the rest of the UK with the introduction of a range of reusable bags in varying sizes starting from 5p.

“From 5 October 2015, we’re donating the net proceeds* of the sale of these bags to BBC Children In Need**, together with our customers we can help make a difference to our environment and support community projects across Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

BBC Children In Need funds over 2,500 community projects in the UK with the vision that every child in the UK has a childhood which is safe, happy and secure, and that allows them the chance to reach their full potential.


*Net proceeds relates to the full figure after deducting VAT and production costs of these reusable bags

**In Northern Ireland, we will continue to make payments to the Environment Department in addition to BBC Children in Need


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023