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Saturday, 2 March, 2002, 15:52 GMT
Plastic bag levy on way
Tesco has welcomed the levy
Shoppers in the Republic of Ireland are enjoying the last few days of free plastic shopping bags.

A government order will force all outlets to charge their customers nine pence (euro 15 cents) for each bag they use to pack and take home their purchases from Monday.

The move is being made on environmental grounds in an attempt to end the sight of windblown, discarded bags that often litter the Irish countryside.

Customers are telling us they broadly welcome the introduction of the levy

Jim Dwyer
Tesco Ireland

The republic's Environment Minister Noel Dempsey has led the government's attempt to reduce the visibility of plastic waste.

He said the levy was expected to "dramatically reduce the nuisance" and "our insatiable use of free plastic bags".

The cash raised will go towards schemes aimed at improving the Irish environment nationwide.

Tesco Ireland, one of the country's main supermarket chains, said it welcomed the government initiative.

On Saturday, a spokesman said the company currently handed out 220m bags to customers in Ireland each year.


Their estimate was that the number would be reduced by at least 40% in the first year.

Tesco Ireland's environmental manager, Jim Dwyer said: "Customers are telling us they broadly welcome the introduction of the levy.

"We have seen a marked change in customers' behaviour in anticipation of the new levy, reflected in the significant increase in sales of our re-usable bags."

Information about the "plastax" has been relayed to the public through a TV advertising and billboard campaign.

The Irish Revenue Commissioners, who will be responsible for the collection of the revenue from retailers, issued separate information details outlining the obligations of shops and stores.

However, certain type of plastic bags will be excluded from the levy.

These include re-usable shopping bags which are sold for 70 cents or more, bags used to contain fresh meat, fish or poultry, bags used for loose fruit and vegetables and other foods that are not otherwise packaged.

The BBC's James Helm
"Filling a trolley with carrier bags will be expensive in future"
See also:

15 Jan 02 | Business
Tesco loses sales edge
03 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan to ban free plastic bags
14 May 01 | South Asia
Bombay gets tough on plastic bags
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