Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has revealed that 215 million fewer single use carrier bags have been used in the first year of the 5p levy.
The first set of official statistics since the levy was introduced show that there was a 72 per cent reduction in use of these bags, representing a fall of 215 million bags.
Mark H Durkan 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 the money from the bag levy has gone into the community through environmental projects. I have visited many of these have been inspired by the great work being done.”
He also announced that £2.5 million of this year’s levy will be available to support community projects.
From 19 January 2015, phase two of the levy will require retailers to add 5p to all reusable bags with a retail price of less than 20p.