The Carrier Bag Levy

Charging for carrier bags

If you sell goods in Northern Ireland you must charge customers at least 5 pence for each carrier bag supplied new at a place where goods are sold. This levy applies to all carrier bags with a retail price below 20 pence. You should familiarise yourself with the Carrier Bag Levy rules on when to charge your customers, and how much you can charge.

Read further information on the Carrier Bag Levy. You can also contact the Carrier Bag Levy Team on Tel 028 7744 2056 or by emailing

The levy applies to carrier bags when:

  • you buy goods like groceries or clothing
  • goods need to be delivered, for example, items bought online which are sent from premises in Northern Ireland and delivered in carrier bags

Types of business affected

You are likely to need to charge the levy if:

  • you run a store or shop (both high street and local)
  • you are a market trader or trade at events/shows across Northern Ireland
  • you run a charity shop

How much to charge for carrier bags?

Only 5p from the sale of each carrier bag (sold at a price below 20 pence) is payable to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). However you are free to charge more than 5p for each bag. Your business may wish to encourage your customers to adopt more sustainable practices by setting higher rates for bags. Where a retailer charges 20 pence or more for a bag, the levy is not applicable.

Your environmental reputation can also be highlighted this way. Find out more about encouraging customer loyalty through environmental responsibility - see market your environmental credentials.