Regulation changes highlight importance of recycling

Filed under: Recycling — Posted by: Emma on January 16, 2013

Shoppers in Northern Ireland are to see a charge of five pence added for every plastic carrier bag they use after new legislation was approved.

It is hoped the changes will reduce the number of plastic bags wasted. Alex Attwood, the Environment Minister, has said that he expects the changes to lead to a reduction of up to 80%

The legislation was approved on Monday by the Assembly. From April 8, when the changes come into effect, retailers will be required by law to charge customers for each single carrier bag provided.

The money made as a result of the changes will go to the Department of the Environment to help with further recycling efforts.

The Environment Minister explained:

“Recent statistics have shown a significant increase in single use carrier bags handed out by major supermarkets in Northern Ireland – it is the big retailers which I am most interested in. This is an area where consumers can really help the environment. The image of NI as ‘green and clean’ – a major part of the character of our lives and the appeal of this place – can be deepened if we deal decisively with carrier bags and the damage they cause.”

The introduction of the five pence charge is also expected to highlight the benefits of reusing plastic items such as carrier bags. Similar regulations have been met with enthusiasm by residents in Wales.

With the awareness of plastic waste on the increase, reusable bags and cut to size panels are popular methods of ensuring waste is kept at a minimum.

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