The Carrier Bag Levy


In Northern Ireland, a 5 pence levy applies on carrier bags with a retail price below 20 pence. This was introduced in 2013.

The levy was introduced to reduce the impact that carrier bags have on the environment and to encourage a more sustainable retail practice.

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.