The Carrier Bag Levy


Every year around 250 million single use carrier bags are consumed and disposed of in Northern Ireland. This has a massive impact on the environment. To reduce this burden and to encourage more sustainable retail practice, a 5 pence levy has been introduced on carrier bags with a retail price under 20 pence.

Carrier bags can be made from:

  • plastic
  • paper
  • plant based material such as starch

As paper bags and other alternatives to plastic bags can be equally damaging to the environment, the Carrier Bag Levy applies to all carrier bags – not just plastic 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.