Belfast Telegraph

'Big reduction' in carrier bag use

Plastic carrier bag use in major stores in Northern Ireland has potentially reduced by 80% since the introduction of an environmental levy, new figures indicate.

Three months on since customers began to be charged 5p per bag, provisional data suggests a dramatic impact.

There were an estimated 17.5 million bags used from April through to the end of June - with several major supermarket chains reporting an 80% drop in bag usage.

Last year around 300 million bag were used in Northern Ireland in 12 months.

While seasonal variations need to be factored in, such as the pre-Christmas shopping surge, the figures for the first three months of the Stormont Executive levy indicate it has had the desired effect.

The measure was introduced by then environment minister Alex Attwood. Mr Attwood's successor Mark H Durkan has welcomed the provisional findings.

"This is great news for the environment," he said.

"Our streets and hedgerows, our fields and parks should no longer be places strewn with discarded bags. In many ways the public are ahead of government here, showing a great appetite for this legislation to be introduced. I commend people for their responsible attitude and willingness to come on board. They are making a personal contribution to addressing the threat of climate change and environmental damage. I very much urge them to keep up the momentum - keep reusing bags."

The Minister added: "Retailers have played a big part in introducing the legislation as smoothly as possible. I congratulate them on that."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph