Plastic bag use in North drops 72%

About 215 million fewer bags used since 5p tax introduced

Some 300 million carrier bags were used in Northern Ireland in the year before the charge was introduced. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Some 300 million carrier bags were used in Northern Ireland in the year before the charge was introduced. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

 

Plastic bag use in Northern Ireland has fallen by almost three quarters since a 5p tax was introduced last year, the Department of the Environment has said.

About 215 million fewer bags were used and £4.1 million raised through the levy for environmental spending.

It was the first set of official figures since charging for single-use carrier bags began in April last year.

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.”

The total decreased by almost 72 per cent, according to the Department of the Environment. Mr Durkan said money raised through had been reinvested in environmental projects.

Some 300 million carrier bags were used in Northern Ireland in the year before the charge was introduced.

Retailers have to charge at least 5p for each single-use bag supplied and pay any proceeds to Stormont’s Department of the Environment.