Plastic Bag Levy

The government levy (22c per plastic bag) on disposable plastic shopping bags applies at the point of sale of goods to the general public by every retailer subject to certain exceptions detailed below.

The main objective of the levy is to greatly reduce the numbers of plastic bags in circulation in Ireland. Plastic bags are an obvious and very visible source of litter; they are also a wasteful use of natural resources.

How Is The Levy Used?

All Plastic Bag Levy receipts together with Landfill Levy receipts are paid into a special "Environment Fund". To date, this Fund has been used to support:

  • The provision of civic recycling facilities and bring centres;
  • Enforcement of the Waste Management Acts; 
  • All Ireland waste initiatives, such as the all-island scheme for the management of waste fridges and freezers; 
  • Waste awareness campaigns; 
  • The successful "Green Schools" initiative.

Permitted Exemptions From The Plastic Bag Levy

All Retailers are legally required to charge customers the 22 cent government levy for plastic bags, subject to the following exemptions:

  • Small plastic bags used to contain loose fruit, vegetables and other similar goods; 
  • Small plastic bags used to contain fresh meat, fish and poultry; 
  • Bags issued as rolls of refuse collection sacks, sandwich bags or freezer bags; 
  • Re-usable bags sold to customers for more than 70 cent each; 
  • Bags supplied to intending passengers at ports and airports, and bags supplied on board ships and aircraft.

Should you wish to make a complaint regarding incidents of retailers not charging the Plastic Bag Levy when required to do so, please contact the Enforcement Section via e-mail at or by phoning the Council on 01 205 4700.

Please include the following details with your complaint:

  • The retail outlet's name and address; 
  • The date and approximate time of the alleged offence; 
  • Any other particulars you feel may assist us in investigating the case; 
  • Your contact details for verification purposes.




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