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Bags of Christmas cheer

Published: 4 Dec 2015 14:15

Environment Secretary welcomes Christmas charity donation from carrier bag charge.

Smyths Toys Superstores has donated almost £7000 to the Yorkhill Children's Charity, through funds raised as a result of the carrier bag charge, Scotland's Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead announced today.

The money will go towards new toys for children at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, and an additional 4D cardiac scanner for the hospital.

The Cabinet Secretary met eight-year-old Madeline, a patient at the hospital, and presented her with an early Christmas present from Smyths – an Our Generation Adjustable Morgan Horse.

He said:

"This is a really wonderful donation from Smyths Toys Superstores to a very worthy cause at a time of year that will be difficult for many children who have to spend it in hospital. It was great to see the look on Madeline's face when she got her present – and even better when I found out how much she loves horses.

"It's also great to see how the carrier bag charge is helping good causes, and although the main aim of the charge was to reduce single-use carrier bag usage in Scotland to help the environment, it's great to see organisations such as the Yorkhill Children's Charity benefit from it too.

"I'd like to congratulate Smyths on this kind gift, and also thank them for the additional toys they've provided to the hospital which I'm sure will bring a smile to the face of many children."

Kirsten Sinclair, Director of Fundraising at Yorkhill Children's Charity, said:

"We are incredibly grateful to the staff and customers at Smyths Toys Superstores for their generous donations. Five pence doesn't sound like much but it really adds up, and this money will help us to give the best possible care to the children treated at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow. This Christmas we're asking people to help us raise money for a new 4D cardiac scanner, which will be the first of its kind in the UK. The support of companies like Smyths is invaluable in helping us provide enhanced medical equipment like this to the hospital."

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

"The impact of the 5p carrier bag charge stretches even further than helping make Scotland a cleaner and greener place to live. in the year since the charge was introduced, Scottish retailers have reported that more than £7 million has been donated to good causes across the country.

"It has been fantastic to see retailers like Smyths Toys sign up to Scotland's Carrier Bag Commitment and pledge their support for invaluable services such as those offered by Yorkhill Children's Charity. I would urge all retailers, large and small, to follow suit."

Rob Guckian at Smyths Toys Superstores said:

"Smyths Toys Superstores are delighted to be able to help support Yorkhill Children's Charity with their invaluable work. We hope our contribution can go some way to ensuring those children who must spend it at the hospital have the best Christmas possible."

Since the charge was introduced on 20 October 2014, data from major grocery retailers indicate a reduction in bag use of around 80 per cent – equivalent to at least 650 million fewer bags being handed out annually compared to 'business as usual' in previous years.

Notes to editors

Nationwide retailers that signed up to Scotland's Carrier Bag Commitment – an agreement to disclose information on the charge, and donations made, to a central publicly available portal – are reporting that various charities up and down the country have also benefited from funds raised by the charge, with over £7 million being donated to good causes.

Retailers and organisations not yet signed up to the Carrier Bag Commitment can do so by visiting, with full details available at

Data from major grocery retailers indicate a reduction in bag use of around 80 per cent since 20 October 2014. The reduction of 650 million single-use carrier bags in the last year means that the net material saving is more than 4,000 tonnes annually (equivalent to more than 500 million single-use carrier bags) and the net carbon saving is more than 2,500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. This accounts for total reductions offset by estimated increases in other forms of plastic bag – for example reusable bags for life and small bin liners.

Full year data is not yet available, these results should be seen as an interim conclusion based on best available evidence, but significant divergence is not expected.

Shoppers can access further information about the single-use carrier bag charge by visiting

Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Zero Waste Plan and other low carbon and resource efficiency policy priorities.