The Waste Management (Plastic Bag Levy) Regulations 2001 and 2007


The plastic bag levy was first introduced in March 2002 in an effort to combat plastic bag litter. The primary purpose of the plastic bag levy was to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic bags by influencing consumer behaviour. Since its introduction on the March 4th 2002, the levy has been an outstanding success.

Prior to the introduction of the levy, it is estimated that over 1.2 billion plastic bags were dispensed free of charge at retail outlets annually, equating to roughly 328 bags per inhabitant per year. The fall in the consumption of plastic bags has been considerable with the reduction being estimated at over 90%. Our environment has also benefited – with a decrease in excess of 95% in plastic bag litter. All levies are remitted into the Environment Fund, which is used to fund a range of environmental initiatives, including waste recovery, recycling and environmental awareness.


Levy Increase from 2007

When first introduced in 2002, the plastic bag levy was 15 cents. From July 1st 2007, the plastic bag levy increased to 22 cent. This was in response to data from the 2006 Census, which indicated that plastic bag usage rose during 2006.

Retailer requirements

Retailer requirements include the following:

1. Ensure that a charge of 22 cent is applied to each plastic bag sold

2. Keep records of :

  • The opening stock take of plastic bags from when the levy was increased
  • A record of plastic bag purchases
  • A record of plastic bags supplied to customers where the levy applies


3. Make a quarterly payment to the Revenue Commissioners:

  • By completed form submitted to Revenue
  • On the 19th day of the month following the end of the quarter
  • Otherwise be charged an estimated amount by Revenue


Exemptions from Levy

This levy applies to all plastic bags except smaller bags which are used to contain non-packaged fruit, nuts or vegetables, confectionery, dairy products cooked food, whether cold or hot, and ice. For food safety reasons smaller bags which are used to contain fresh meat, fish and poultry, whether packaged or not, are also exempt. Bags for life costing more than 70 cent will be exempt, as will bags supplied to intending passengers in ports and airports as well as on board commercial ships and aircraft.


Environmental Compliance Section
Louth County Council,
Millennium Centre,
County Hall,
County Louth.
A91 KFW6.

Tel: (042) 933 5457.


Waste Management (Environmental Levy) (Plastic Bag) (Amendment ) (No. 2) Regulations 2007

Plastic Bags -

Links - Department of the Environment