This year, Checkout commemorates its 40th anniversary under its current ownership, and with this in mind, every week, Retail Intelligence is going to ‘reel in the years’ and publish a story from our extensive archives. This article from July 2000 discusses the impending introduction of the plastic bag levy.
Following reports that the Government is to introduce a 10p tax on plastic bags, the Seanad has been told that retailers should have to share the burden of the levy with customers. Fine Gael Senator Fintan Coogan says, “The principle that the polluter pays is a very good one. However, the polluter is not just the purchaser, it is also the supermarket or shop that sells the goods.”
Coogan believes retailers have yet to provide a viable alternative to plastic bags. In an interview with Checkout, he claimed; “All these bags carry advertisements. The Minister has recommended in effect that customers be charged 10p to advertise these shops. If a supermarket or a shop has to pay a 5p levy for every bag that is used, they would quickly find another method. Superquinn is one retailer which has sought to provide alternatives and has placed reminders to customers to reuse plastic bags.”
The Senator believes there is considerable cross-party support in the Seanad for his proposal to have retailers share the cost of the 10p levy.
An announcement by the Minister for the Environment on the tax, and how it is to be levied, is imminent, according to a Government spokesperson. “The position in relation to this is that the Department is at an advanced stage in the development of specific mechanisms to implement the Government commitment to tax plastic shopping bags, and an announcement will be made shortly.”
Speaking on RTE’s Questions & Answers recently, Environment Minister Noel Dempsey said the Government decided to impose a 10p levy on plastic bags; “because they are the most visible sign of the litter problem in this country. The levy is being introduced to get people to change their behaviour and to reuse and recycle plastic bags.”
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