I think it's a great thing, but doesn't go far enough. It is also estimated that NI goes through 250,000,000 bags every year, quite a big number. The European Commission said plastic bags account for the majority of plastic waste polluting the marine environment. The Single Use Carrier Bags Charge Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 were approved by the Assembly in January. The levy is to to total around £2m and will be used for environmental projects. The 2 million pounds will be collected by the Department of the Environment.
Although a welcomed tax, I reckon 5p is way too cheap. I know people will think twice, but I'm not sure its big enough to put people off. I don't neccessarily want people to pay the 5p, but rather have a bag for life, reuse an old bag as I can almost see friends and relatives swiping from the Trócaire box before they head out to get the groceries. Across the border, shoppers need to fork out 22 cents per bag, this was brought in over 10 years ago and has seen a 90 per cent reduction in the use of plastic bags.
Welsh ministers have said a similar scheme in Wales cut the use of plastic bags by 95 per cent since it was introduced in 2011. England is under pressure to introduce a levy and laughably a Tory MP said it wouldn't be fair in this economic climate, Richard Benyon told MPs: “We recognise the pressures on household budgets at this time; levying even a small charge may not be the best option.” Considering the cuts being brought in by the Tories their concern for the 'less well off' is treated with the contempt it deserves. English shoppers took home 7.5 per cent more plastic bags in 2011 compared to 2010.
Northern Minister introduces new 5p carrier bag levy - Irish News, World News & More | The Irish Times - Sun, Apr 07, 2013