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Ireland’s Got It Out for Plastic Bags

plastic bagsOf all the crackdowns there have been on plastic bag use, Ireland’s might just be the harshest. Environment Minister John Gormley has proposed a three-fold increase in the plastic bag tax in an effort to reduce the use of the bags, which currently cost 22¢ each. The plastic bag tax was introduced in March 2002 and forced shoppers to pay 15¢ for every bag used. At the time, average use per person was 328 bags a year. In 2007 the fee rose 7¢ and the average dropped to 24 per person per year.

The money gathered in the tax is put toward the Environment Fund, which is used to fund recycling centers, waste reduction schemes and research into waste management. In 2008, €26.6m was paid into the fund. (In other words, shoppers bought more than 121 million bags.)

The Consumers Association of Ireland thinks the 70¢ charge will encourage people to bring recyclable bags with them.

“There are two sides to it — 70¢ is a lot but the benefits of the tax have been fantastic,” chief executive Dermott Jewell said. “The fund that builds up for that is not wasted, it goes back to initiatives that benefit the payer of that tax. Few people in the current environment would cheer that rate (70¢), but fewer people buy them and those who do would make sure they don’t do it again. The harder you hit, the quicker you remember not to do it again.”

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Posted on: Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Posted in: poly bags

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