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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Carrier bag charge rises to 25p in a bid to cut use

Northern Ireland’s carrier bag levy has been increased from 5 pence to 25 pence from today, Friday 1 April.

Edwin Poots MLA, the then DAERA Minister, announced in November last year that the Carrier Bag Levy charge in Northern Ireland would increase.

In addition to levy increase, the Minister also announced an extension to the existing pricing threshold, which will see all bags priced at £5 or less subject to the levy, irrespective of the material they are made from.

Speaking in February, Mr Poots said:

“Since the 5p Carrier Bag Levy was introduced in NI in 2013, it has removed in excess of 1.7 billion bags from circulation, which has helped significantly towards protecting the environment. However, I am aware that a significant number of retailers in NI are selling large volumes of heavy duty bags at a cost of 20 pence or more. These are now flooding the market and are not being reused, with harmful environmental consequences.

“The announcement that all retailers will now be required to charge a 25p levy on all bags they dispense with a price not greater than £5 will encourage the reuse of carrier bags, therefore reducing the number of bags in circulation and will go some way towards making Northern Ireland a cleaner, greener place in which to live."

“The reinvestment of levy proceeds to environmental projects across NI is benefiting everyone particularly as what is good for the environment is good for the economy in the long term. By continuing to work together we can help meet the New Decade, New Approach commitment on eliminating plastic pollution, this also underpins the draft Green Growth Strategy for Northern Ireland, which my Department is leading on on behalf of the NI Executive.”

Concluding, Edwin Poots said:

“The environmental benefits of a reduction in carrier bag usage feeds into a reduction in waste management, reduced litter on our streets and in our oceans, improved air quality, green growth, resource efficiency and a circular economy. The Carrier Bag Levy in NI leads the way within the UK and any legislative change must deliver continued improvement, consumer awareness and positive behavioural change in protecting our environment.

“My Department will continue to work hard on the issue of the circular economy, eliminating plastic pollution and tackling throwaway culture. With plastic waste set to quadruple by 2050, I would encourage everyone to play their part – don’t pay to throw away - bring your own bag; reuse your bag and only purchase a new bag when necessary.”

The Carrier Bag Levy in Northern Ireland applies to ALL bags and not just plastic bags.


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