The Plastic Bag Levy was introduced in Ireland in March 2001. When a customer requests a plastic bag the retailer must generally charge €0.22 per plastic bag supplied. There are exceptions for bags of certain sizes, and for bags which contain fresh fruit, unpackaged vegetables, meats and certain other products. The retailer is obliged to itemise the levy on cash register receipts given to the customer.
The levy is collected by the retailer at the point of sale and the money is later paid to the Revenue Commissioners.
Money raised from the levy is paid into an Environment Fund that pays for a range of environmental projects and costs of enforcement. Since the introduction of the levy the amount of plastic bag litter in the environment countrywide has been reduced dramatically. Customers have largely availed of reusable plastic bags while many retailers have adopted the use of environmentally-friendly paper bags.
Complaints & Enforcement
South Dublin County Council is responsible for enforcement of the Plastic Bag Levy Regulations within the South Dublin County area.
Complaints may be made by members of the public where they believe that a retailer is not properly charging the levy. To make a complaint, please contact 01-4149000 and ask to be connected to the Environment Enforcement office.
Alternatively, complaints may be made in writing to:
South Dublin County Council,
Enforcement Section (Plastic Bag Levy),
Environmental Services Dept.,
You may contact the Council by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Complaints are also received via the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, where the Department has been notified of alleged breaches in South Dublin County.
Where a complaint is received it is investigated by an on-site visit by a person authorized by South Dublin County Council under the Waste Management Act. It is often sufficient to issue a verbal warning to retailers in these circumstances. However, if it is determined that breaches are continuing, a prosecution may be initiated in the District Court.
Further information on the Plastic Bag Levy may be found on the Website of the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government
The Waste Management (Environmental Levy) (Plastic Bag) Regulations, 2001 can be read or downloaded from the Irish Statute Book Website, Statutory Instruments page.