Belfast Telegraph

Almost a quarter of a billion fewer plastic bags used in Northern Ireland: Levy sees usage drop by 72%

By John Mulgrew

Almost a quarter of a billion fewer plastic bags have been used across Northern Ireland since the introduction of the the 5p levy.

Use of single-use bags has dropped 72% since the introduction of the tax in April 2013.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “The response from shoppers has been very positive and retailers have also risen to the challenge. The result has been a very significant reduction in single use carrier bags.

"During the past year, I have ensured that money from the bag levy has gone back into the community through environmental projects. I have visited many of these projects and have been inspired by the great work being done.

"I am delighted to announce that £2.5million of this year’s levy receipts will be available to support community projects. The community pays the levy and I will ensure that the community gets the benefit of the levy.”

Some £4.17million raised since April was spent on 'environment projects', the department said.

A second phase of the levy will begin is set to begin in January when 5p will be added to the price of reusable bags.

Glyn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) called on the minister not to add 5p to reusable bags.

"Our members have worked hard to administer and collect for this scheme and we are pleased to see progress," he said.

"We are also concerned about reports from our members that basket sales and impulse buying have been reduced following the introduction of the levy."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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