Edinburgh Proposed Bag Ban

Green Party councillor Alison Johnstone proposed a bag ban in Edinburgh in 2007. Had it passed, Edinburgh would have become the first city in the UK to ban plastic bags. It did not pass, but environmentalists in the city are still pushing for it.

In the meantime, many of the city's retailers have taken matters into their own hands. Marks & Spencers, Lidl, Ikea and B&Q now charge a small fee for using a plastic bag. Giant grocer Tesco has held out against charging its customers, preferring to reward Tesco Club Card holders with "green" points for bringing their own bags. Tesco claims it saved 2 billion bags in the UK in almost 2 years, although Britain's biggest retailer still gave out 2 million single-use plastic bags in July 2008.

Meanwhile, some Edinburgh neighborhoods have launched campaigns to distribute cloth bags in the hopes of making their streets plastic-free.