Tax reduces plastic bag total by 90%
Wednesday 21 August 2002
The number of plastic bags given away by shops in Ireland has fallen by 90 per cent since an environment tax was introduced five months ago.
The move, applauded by green groups, has seen the exchequer's coffers swollen by £2.25m and more than one billion bags saved.
Shoppers in the Irish Republic are now charged about 10p for each bag they take from supermarkets. The success of the project is likely to increase pressure for the introduction of a similar measure in Britain.
The British Government has expressed tentative support for the scheme. The only other country in Europe that has a tax on plastic bags is Denmark.
Last month, a 10-ton whale was found dead on the coast of Normandy after swallowing plastic bags. Conservationists believe the animals mistake the bags for squid.
In the UK, plastic bags can be recycled, but only one in 200 is, despite some schemes introduced by retailers to encourage better use of waste. Shredded and compacted, bags can be used as bedding for roads and home building.
Martin Cullen, the Irish Environment Minister, said the development was evidence that "the mindset is changing and proof that implementation of similar strategies must continue". He said the provision of plastic bags by the 3,000 retailers affected by the new law had been cut by 90 per cent compared with the pre-March total. At this rate, the tax office would collect nearly £6.5m over the year, Mr Cullen said.
Before the legislation was enacted, an estimated 1.2 billion bags were handed out to Irish shoppers without charge each year.
Mr Cullen said: "The reduction has been immediate and the positive visual impact on the environment is plain to see." He said the money raised would be spent on environmental projects and among ideas being considered was the establishment of an office for environmental enforcement.
The minister said: "We are realising that by implementing practical measures such as this, the environment wins."
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...