It’s an initiative that has already been rolled out across some stores, but from the 8th April 2013, in Northern Ireland, most carrier bags will come with a five pence (5p) levy. In this guide, we will explore more about the most common questions that are being asked about the levy.
Why is the levy being brought in?
The answer to this question is simple. This levy is being introduced to try to make people use sustainable solutions. In Northern Ireland alone, 250 million non-reusable carrier bags are binned every single year. This is significantly increasing the countries carbon emissions. After significant research, the levy was deemed to be the most effective way of lowering the number of carrier bags.
Isn’t this just a way for shops to make more money?
No, this is not just a way for shops to make money. In fact, for every single-use carrier bag the shop provides, they have to pay the five pence levy to the DOE (Department of the Environment). The money raised from this levy will go toward funding further environmental activities.
Is five pence all I’m going to pay per bag?
The levy that is being enforced by the DOE is for a flat five pence per bag. However, as always, stores have the right to charge whatever they like for any type of bag they offer.
What are the other key points I need to know?
There are several other points you need to take into account:
- The levy will apply to most single use carrier bags, but there are some exceptions.
- The levy also applies to single use bags made from paper and natural materials not just plastic bags.
- A store cannot legally cover the levy for their customers. They have to charge it.
- The levy will be charged in all stores where single use bags are offered, also including online shopping.
Of course, in order to avoid paying the levy you can use your own bags. Ultimately this is the goal as Northern Ireland seeks to lower its carbon emissions or provide more investment to the department of the environment.