Monday 25 June 2007

Plastic bag levy increase

The relevant waste management amendments (S.I No. 167 of 2007) have been made by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to increase the Environmental levy on Plastic Bags.

* The Levy will increase to 22 cent on Sunday 1 July 2007
* Retailers must carry out a stock-take of certain 'excepted' bags and other plastic bags in stock before the commencement of business on 1st July 2007.
* An information leaflet PB1 for retailers was issued with the Revenue Commissioners June 2007 return form ELEV1.

Further details are also available from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government - Click Here

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 approximately 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 €500,000 to €750,000 - 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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