As an awareness raising initiative and in influencing behavioral change by consumers, the introduction of a plastic bag levy in 2003 has been an unprecedented success. It has achieved what the European Commission has often stated is that most difficult of objects - to change individual's behavior.
Prior to the introduction of the levy it is estimated that over 1.2 billion plastic bags were given out annually in Ireland - roughly 328 bags per capita per year. When the levy was introduced in 2002 this fell to 21 bags per capita.
The National Litter Pollution Monitoring System showed that before the levy, 5% of all litter was plastic bags. The 2006 figure is 0.5%.
Last July the levy was increased from 15 cent to 22 cent to ensure the positive effect on our environment was maintained. The annual usage, which stood at 33 bags per capita, fell again to 21 bags per capita.
Receipts collected by the Revenue Commissioners have realised almost €98 million to date for an Environmental Fund.
Source: DoE 19.03.08
References: [Thanks to Clara in Portugal on the LCA list
- Study carried out for Carrefour France and presented to the European Commission concerning the LCA of plastic bags:
- Other studies dealing with the same issue can be found at the following URLs:
-Centre for Design at RMIT. "The impacts of degradable plastic bags in Australia". Final Report to Department of the Environment and Heritage.
Centre for Design at RMIT, Melbourne (Australia), 2004.
- Ecobilan. "Évaluation des impacts environnementaux des sacs de caisse.
Analyse du cicle de vie de sacs de caisse en plastique, papier et matériau biodégradable. Complément: Sac Multirotation en PP (polypropylène)". Francia, noviembre de 2005.
- Fund for Research into Industrial Development, Growth and Equity (FRIDGE), "Socio-Economic Impact of the Proposed Plastic Bag Regulations - Report". Bentley West Management Consultants for the National Economic Development and Labour Council of South Africa.