Retail NI reminds customers to be ready for Carrier Bag Levy increase today

Retail NI reminds customers to be ready for Carrier Bag Levy increase today

With the Carrier Bag Levy rising from 5p to 25p today, Retail NI is reminding consumers to be ready for the increase.

Originally announced by Environment Minister Edwin Poots in September, the change will also include an extension to the existing pricing threshold, which will see all bags priced at £5 or less subject to the levy, irrespective of the material they are made from.

Mr Poots said the existing 5p Carrier Bag Levy had been successful in already removing more than 1.7 billion bags from circulation, but a significant number of retailers in NI were selling large volumes of heavy duty bags at a cost of 20 pence or more each, and these were now flooding the market and were not being reused, with harmful environmental consequences.

He said the change would go some way towards making Northern Ireland a cleaner and more pleasant place in which to live, by ensuring that proceeds from the Levy are re-invested in supporting the wider NI environmental sector.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “We absolutely agree on the objective to reduce the level of plastic in circulation as well as the levels that continue to litter our streets. Retail NI members have led the way in in reducing plastic packaging and promoting bag for life options.

“Retail NI argued for the 5p charge to be increased to a more realistic figure of 10p in line with what is being proposed in England and Scotland. We believe this increase to 25p will disproportionately impact on working families who are struggling with the cost of living crisis.

“However, we will work with DAERA on its implementation and urge them to keep this policy under review.

“As is the case in Wales, we would now like to see responsibility given to our members to allow them to decide on what local environmental projects the proceeds of the levy, that they administer, is spent on.

“Successive Environment and DAERA Ministers have never consulted local retailers on how the proceeds of the levy is spent. We want to empower our members to make the decisions themselves on how best to spend the levy which they collect.”