Plastic bag levy a success in Ireland

The success of the Irish plastic bag tax should see Britain following suite. With €3.5 million already earned from the levy introduced in March this year, Ireland’s Minister for the Environment Martin Cullen is delighted with the scheme’s success. The “mindset is changing,” says Cullen, adding that “implementation of similar strategies must continue if we are to tackle Ireland's waste problem.”

As well as earning millions from the levy of around 10p a bag, the number of bags issued by the 3000 retailers involved in the scheme has fallen by 90%. “The reduction has been immediate and the positive visual impact on the environment is plain to see,” adds Cullen. Before the levy, Ireland was estimated to be using over a billion plastic bags a year.

Earlier this year Environment Minister Michael Meacher told the Guardian he was in favour of introducing a similar scheme in Britain, where eight billion bags are issued each year (see related story).

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