Beginning With One Small Step
Irish success paves way for UK plastic bag levy
Here are some excerpts from an article appearing in the Guardian (UK).
Green taxes do not require any major move -- they can be introduced slowly, starting small. Sometimes this is necessary politically, although we recommend gaining the benefits of tax reform by introducing green tax policy much faster.
by Julian GloverBritish plans to introduce an environmental tax on plastic shopping bags received a boost today, when the Irish government reported that a similar levy they introduced earlier this year had been a success.
Introduced in Ireland at the beginning of March, the 10p tax on supermarket bags has already cut the country's use of non-recyclable bags by more than a billion and earned 3.5m euros [£2.25m] for the Dublin exchequer, which will be spent on environmental protection.
Michael Meacher, the environment minister, said earlier this year that he hoped that a similar scheme could be introduced in the UK. He has asked civil servants to report on the success of the Irish scheme.
This morning the Irish environment minister, Martin Cullen, said the scheme was evidence that "the mindset is changing" in Ireland. He said that the provision of plastic bags by the 3,000 retailers affected by the new law had been cut by 90% on the pre-March total.
Before the legislation was enacted, an estimated 1,200,000,000 plastic bags were handed out to Irish shoppers each year.
"The reduction has been immediate and the positive visual impact on the environment is plain to see," Mr Cullen added. "We are realising that by implementing practical measures such as this, the environment wins."
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