Latest News
10 January 2010 - Candlelit Vigil for Climate Change
A candlelit vigil was held in Selkirk on the 12th December to enable local people to signal their desire for real action from goverments on climate change at Copenhagen. 28 people took part in the vigil which was one of over 3000 similar events that took place all over the world on the same day. These vigils were co-ordinated by the global organisation Avaaz and gave millions of people the chance to stand up for action on climate change and demand a fair, ambitious and binding treaty.

If you would like more information about Avaaz or to join their worldwide campaigns go to

Candlelit vigil in Selkirk for Climate Change
21 September 2009 - Avaaz Global Climate Wake-Up Call gathering

The Avaaz gathering in Selkirk
21 September 2009 - Avaaz Global Climate Wake-Up Call gathering

Dear friends,

Members of, the international civic organization that promotes activism on issues such as climate change, human rights, and religious conflicts, have commited to holding over 1000 events across 88 countries on Monday 21 September 2009. See this map for more details, and note that we are having one of these events in Selkirk!

Please come along and support the call for a fair, ambitious and binding Global Climate Change Treaty. It will only take 5 minutes of your time and may make a huge difference. Please come!

Selkirk Market Place, under the clock, at 12.00 Noon.
Monday 21st September.

See you there! And please bring and tell your friends

20 March 2009 - SPBF Supports Scottish Government Initiative
The Selkirk Plastic Bag Free campaign supports the Scottish Government's initiative to help reduce the use of plastic carrier bags. With Scotland using one billion bags a year and our local authorities spending £385 million a year dealing with waste this new campaign to encourage us all to reduce our carrier bag use by 50% is a welcome step in the right direction. (read more)
6 October 2008 - Award for Innovation in Environmental Improvement
Plastic Bag Free Selkirk has won the prestigious award for Innovation in Environmental Improvement At the Scottish Borders Awards 2008

This Award, which was presented to Jenna Agate at the Awards Ceremony in Kelso on Friday 3 October, is a celebration of the commitment and effort that the whole of the Selkirk Community have put into the Plastic Bag Free campaign. (read more)

21 September 2008 - Scottish Borders Awards 2008

Photograph: Helen Barrington
At the forthcoming Scottish Borders Awards 2008, Selkirk Plastic Bag Free has been shorlisted as one of three finalists for an Award for Innovation in Environmental Improvement, sponsored by Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission.

The winner will be announced on 3 October this year.

2 August 2008 - Get your own Selkirk Plastic Bag Free bag here

We have a limited supply of the Selkirk Bag available to buy. The original 1000 bags were sponsored and given out for free. These extra bags will help to raise some funds for the campaign. They are exactly the same as the original bag - recycled, fair trade, fair price, cotton from India and printed with vegetable dye inks. They are very strong, durable and capacious. The cost per bag is £7.50

You can purchase one of these bags at Hinnigans Gift Shop and The Forest Bookstore, both in the Market Place, Selkirk. Alternatively you can contact us to arrange a collection. Please contact or telephone 01750 21997

11 June 2008 - Selkirk's Twin Town in Germany Covers Our Campaign

The press in the German town of Plattling, which is twinned with Selkirk, has recently covered our campaign to be Plastic Bag Free.

Click here to see the article.

11 April 2008 - Press Coverage Continues

Following our launch last week, the word is spreading. BBC News gives us another mention, as does The Glasgow Herald and the weblog Badlani. Tell your friends! Ban the bag!

Friday 4th April 2008 - Launch Day!

On this day, Selkirk becomes Scotland's first town to be plastic bag free! Of the town's 108 shops, over
96% of Selkirk’s traders are committed to a Plastic Bag Free town. Click here for more details on the launch.

15 March 2008 - Futher Press Coverage

Further links to more appearances in local and national press are below:

BBC News (10/03/08); Selkirk Weekend Advertiser; Selkirk Online; Border Telegraph (12/03/08); Scotland Food & Drink;

Courtesy of Alastair Watson Border Telegraph Border Telegraph

9 March 2008 - Scottish Environment Minister comes to Selkirk

The Environment Minister, Michael Russell, came to Selkirk this week to meet representatives of our campaign. He was very supportive, commenting, "I am very pleased to see this campaign in Selkirk to replace plastic bags with alternatives. Local retailers are setting a good example by agreeing not to issue new plastic bags...
There is still a long way to go for retailers to deliver the UK target of reducing the overall impact of carrier bags by 25 percent by the end of 2008 and I welcome any action by retailers to reduce waste from plastic bags"

Further information is available at the Scottish Government News site.

9 March 2008 - Press Coverage

Selkirk's Plastic Bag Free Campaign continues to attract attention from the local and national press. Links to recent appearances (where available) are below:

BBC News (21/02/08); ITV Local News (video); BBC Radio Scotland; The Glasgow Herald; Southern Reporter; Selkirk Weekend Advertiser; Border Telegraph (20/02/08); Radio Borders

20 February 2008 - Campaign Update

The campaign to make Selkirk Plastic Bag Free moves on apace. We are optimistic that we shall meet our deadline of no more plastic bags in the town by March 31st 2008. A lot of the traders are considering changing to paper and others will use compostable cornstarch bags instead of plastic.

Gentleman's Agreement

We are currently working on a Gentleman's Agreement that we shall ask all traders to sign whereby they will agree to not issue, give out or sell any plastic bags to any customer after this date.


We have received a grant from the Community Grants Scheme of £1015 for our fair trade, recycled, reusable cotton bag. This sum has been match-funded by R.P.Adam. With the SBC Waste Aware grant of £500 and Lochcarron's support of £100 we now have enough funds to purchase 1000 bags for Selkirk. These bags will be given out free to shoppers and locals on our launch day Friday 4th April at midday in the Market Place. We are immensely grateful to these companies and organisations for their support.

Schools Poster Competition

Our local primary schools were invited to design posters to advertise Selkirk going Plastic Bag Free. These posters have now been received and the judging will take place tomorow. One poster will be chosen and the design used on the reusable cotton bag. We also have plans (more funds needed for this!) to print up 500 of these posters to be used around the town to let locals and visitors know that we are a Plastic Bag Free town. The schools competition has been sponsored by Selkirk Merchant Company and The Studio On The Green and a prize of £100 will go to the winning school for an ecological project of their own choosing.

Excess Plastic Bags

One problem that we are facing is that we have two traders in town who have purchased large quantities of plastic bags with names printed on them. We cannot expect small businesses to take such a large financial loss and are still seeking a solution to this problem. Any good ideas will be gratefully received! One suggestion is to ask them to make a 'statement of intent' whereby they display on their windows their support for the campaign and a pledge to use their current stock by a certain date. I would be interested to hear what you all think about this idea?

Reusing old bags

We have four traders in the town who re-use old plastic bags rather than buying new ones. To solve the problem of there being a gap after 31st March before the cornstarch bags start to be reused we have come up with the idea of collecting sturdy paper carrier bags that can be used by these shops instead of plastic ones. Please save your old paper carriers and drop them in to Bow Wows, Barnardos, Scott Hislops and Station Road Post office. They will be most happy to receive them!

The Co-op Store

We are delighted to have received a pledge from the Co-op in Selkirk that they will have cornstarch bags in their store by 31st March and will be charging 5p per bag for them. (We are asking all shops to make a blanket charge of 5p per bag for cornstarch bags as they cost more than plastic and we hope that by charging for bags we will encourage shoppers to bring their own bags instead.) The co-op also have a fair trade cotton bag and there is a possibility that they may be able to give these out free to shoppers on our launch day too. Well done the Co-op! We are still waiting for a decision from Somerfield about bags but sense, with the Co-op pledge, that they are not wanting to be left out!

Cornstarch Bags

These bags are fully compostable and have a shelf life of 18 months before they start to break down. They are a great alternative to plastic bags. However we do not want to just replace all plastic with cornstarch otherwise the world will face corn shortages and feeding people is much more important than carrying home our shopping! Reusing cotton, hessian, jute, paper, etc is much more environmentally friendly and we hope to get this message across. For those shops that need cornstarch we are looking into the possibility of a local business buying in a quantity of them so that a) they will be cheaper and b) they will be available to buy in Selkirk. Watch this space.

Peebles and Innerleithen are also working to become plastic bag free along with Broughton and West Linton. Well done to them. And I understand that Melrose is working on it too. Wouldn't it be great if the whole of the Borders became plastic bag free. Then maybe the whole of Scotland. It has to happen. The time is ripe.