Plastic Bags Levy to be increased to 22c from 1 July 07

Published on Wednesday, 21 Feb 2007

Plastic Bags Levy to be increased to 22c from 1 July 07

21/02/07

PLASTIC BAGS LEVY TO BE INCREASED TO 22c FROM 1 JULY NEXT
"We need to ensure continued success of levy" – Roche
The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr. Dick Roche, T.D., today (21st February '07) announced that the environmental levy on plastic shopping bags would be increased from 15c to 22c per bag with effect from Sunday 1st July 2007.
The plastic bag levy which came into effect on 4th March 2002 had an immediate effect on consumer behaviour – with plastic bag per capita usage decreasing overnight from an estimated 328 bags to just 21. This had an immediate benefit to our environment – with a decrease in excess of 95% in plastic bag litter. Surveys indicated that up to 90% of shoppers used long-life bags in 2003, compared with 36% in 1999. 
"It is now five years since the plastic bags levy was introduced and its success in Ireland has attracted considerable international interest with the Irish model being replicated in other countries. We need to ensure that the success story continues into the future. There has been no increase in the levy since its inception and I am anxious to ensure that its impact is not diminished. Income from the levy has been increasing in the recent past and data from levies remitted and population estimates provided by the Central Statistics Office, would indicate that plastic bag usage rose to 30 bags per capita during the course of 2006. I am increasing the levy to the maximum of 22 cent allowable under the existing legislation. I am satisfied that it will have the desired effect in stemming the pattern of increased usage of plastic bags that has been evident", the Minister said.
"As far as the plastic bags levy is concerned "less is more". I will be happier to see a decrease in revenue on account of the increased levy.  What I want to see is less use of plastic bags and more use of long life bags", the Minister concluded.
ENDS
 
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Notes for Editors
The 15 cent levy on disposable plastic shopping bags was introduced in Ireland on 4 March 2002.  To date the levy has raised €75m.  €18.8m was remitted by the Revenue Commissioners in 2006. 
It is estimated that the use of disposable plastic shopping bags has been reduced by approx. 90% since its introduction.  Prior to its introduction approx. 1.2 billion disposable plastic bags were given away free by retailers. 
Prior to the introduction of the levy, the per capita usage of plastic bags was estimated at 328.  The levy led to a reduction in per capita usage to 21.  In the interim, there has been an increase in the usage of plastic bags.  Data from levies remitted and estimates provided by the Central Statistics Office as to population density, would indicate that plastic bag usage rose to 30 bags per capita during 2006. 
22 cent is the maximum the levy can be increased to under the existing legislative provisions.  The aim of the increase is to reduce per capita usage to the level achieved in 2002 or lower.  If this aim is achieved the increased levy will be revenue neutral.  Achieving a per capita usage of 21 will increase revenue by only an additional €½ to €¾ million, whereas achieving a per capita usage of 20 will decrease revenue by a similar amount.  
All plastic Bag Levy receipts together with Landfill Levy receipts are paid into a ring fenced "Environment Fund".  To date, the Fund has been used to support –
  • The provision of civic recycling facilities and bring centres
  • Operational costs of running civic recycling facilities
  • Enforcement of the Waste Management Acts
  • North / south waste initiatives such as the award winning all-island scheme for the Management of waste fridges and freezers.
  • Waste awareness campaigns and
  • A very successful "Green Schools" initiative.

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