Guide

The Carrier Bag Levy

Introduction

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 greatly cutting the number of carrier bags used and encouraging customers to bring and reuse their own bags. Reusing carrier bags saves natural resources and reduces the need for landfill.

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. 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.