The first set of official Carrier Bag statistics published today (Wednesday) shows a marked decrease of almost 72 per cent, which equates to a reduction of around 215 million bags.
Mark H Durkan, speaking during a visit to Gormley’s Centra, Claudy, said: “The response from shoppers has been very positive and retailers have also risen to the challenge. The result has been a very significant reduction in single use carrier bags.
“During the past year, I have ensured that money from the bag levy has gone back into the community through environmental projects. I have visited many of these projects and have been inspired by the great work being done.
“I am delighted to announce that £2.5million of this year’s levy receipts will be available to support community projects. The community pays the levy and I will ensure that the community gets the benefit of the levy.”
The £4.17million raised in 2013/14 was spent on environment projects including 250 community lead environment projects through NIEA Challenge Fund, Natural Heritage grants, Sustainability Innovation Fund and Local Clean-up Support projects.
Phase 2 of the bag levy will require retailers to add 5 pence to all reusable bags with a retail price of less than 20 pence and this change will commence on January 19, 2015.