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Opinions are split on plastic bag tax

Shoppers in Newry are divided over the new carrier bag tax that came into effect yesterday. People are now being charged 5p per bag they use in an attempt by the Department of the Environment to dramatically reduced the number of plastic bags used each year by 80 per cent. The tax is due to double next year. The Democrat spoke to shoppers in SuperValu on Hill Street yesterday morning to get their views on the initiative – and opinion was split down the middle. Noel McParland said, “It seems to me to be another attempt by the government to take money off people. We get hit with car parking charges, the cost of fuel is going through the roof and now plastic bag tax, it’s all about making more money. They claim it’s about the environment but it is undoubtedly driven by greed for more money.” Siobhan Watson agreed. She said, “We are being asked for more money every day. Everything is getting dearer and while it’s only 5p for bag, I think people are annoyed that it is another extra cost to the shopping. However John McGuiness from Newry said he is delighted to see the introduction of the levy, “It’s a brilliant idea and they should have brought this in years ago. I’ll Not be paying 5p for a bag as I bring my own bags when we go shopping and do a lot of recycling. They brought the plastic bag tax down south a number of years ago so we are a wee bit slow off the mark but it is good to see because I know it worked well down there in terms of reducing the number of plastic bags and hopefully it will work here too.” Ann McManus added, “I think it’s good. It’s only a few pence but it will make people be a little more considerate when it comes to the amount of bags they use. You only have to look around Newry to see plastic bags littered all over the place. It’s an awful eyesore.” Thelma McKnight who runs the Seek and Find charity shop in Mary Street and said it puts an added pressure on small independent charities, “We have to by the bags ourselves, charge customers 5p for them, then send the money to the government. As well as costing us financially it also burdens us with extra paper work at the end of every month. I think it is important that the customer knows that the money goes straight to the government and that a charity such as ourselves do not profit from this at all.”


Newry Democrat

9th April 2013