Northern Ireland launches 5p plastic bag charge
The Guardian Blogs (blog)
According to the European commission, plastic bags account for the majority of plastic waste polluting the marine environment.
The Northern Ireland Executive has introduced the carrier bag levy, in a move designed to significantly reduce the 250 million carrier bags distributed in the country each year.
Northern Ireland follows in the footsteps of Wales, which introduced a similar charge in 2011 and subsequently cut handouts of bags dramatically, with some retailers virtually eliminating the use of bags within a few months of the launch of the levy.
The Northern Irish levy will cover all single use carrier bags, including those made from paper or plant-based materials such as starch, on the grounds that alternatives to plastic bags also have environmental impacts.
However, the levy will not apply to reusable bags and some small paper and plastic bags, such as those used for medicine or hot food.