The carrier bag levy is now in its fifth year of operation and so far has generated over £19 million, with the proceeds used to deliver local projects to both enhance and improve the environment. The Environment Fund is one of the mechanisms through which the proceeds of the carrier bag levy have been used to allow not-for-profit organisations and councils to deliver key environmental priorities across Northern Ireland. Through funding these projects, the carrier bag levy proceeds helps to sustain, improve and enrich the natural environment in Northern Ireland.
The levy applies to all new carrier bags with a retail price below 20p. This is regardless of whether they are single use or reusable.
Retailers set the price of their bags which means that prices may vary. However, only the proceeds of the 5p levy are paid to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
- contain take-away hot food and hot drinks
- only contain items such as unpackaged food, seeds and bulbs, axes, knives or razor blades, goods contaminated by soil and some medicinal products
- carry goods bought in an airport after you clear security
- are used when you buy a service, such as shoe repair or laundry
- are of certain sizes and used only to contain packaged uncooked meat or fish
- are certain types of small bags
- are specialist bags, such as mail order and courier bags
- are supplied for free to replace worn out ‘bags for life’
- are carrier bags with a retail price of 20p or more