Guide

The Carrier Bag Levy

Introduction

Coronavirus: temporary change to the Carrier Bag Levy

With immediate effect, carrier bags used by retailers to deliver groceries directly via home delivery services will be free of charge. The amendment to the Carrier Bag legislation will be in effect for a six month period in the midst of the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more about the change to the Carrier Bag Levy.

In Northern Ireland, retailers are required to charge at least 5 pence for all new carrier bags. The main aim is to protect the environment by cutting the number of carrier bags used and encouraging customers to bring and reuse their bags. Reusing carrier bags saves natural resources and reduces the need for landfill.

As paper bags and other alternatives to plastic bags can be damaging to the environment, the Carrier Bag Levy applies to all carrier bags – not only plastic bags. See charging for carrier bags.

The 5 pence charge for carrier bags applies in most retail transactions, with some exceptions. It is important for your business to be aware when charges apply, to inform your customers, and to register with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) if you need to pay the levy.

This guide will help you and your customers to understand the requirements.

You can also watch the video below, explaining when the carrier bag levy applies, the exemptions to charging the levy, how retailers can register to pay the levy to DAERA and payment methods.