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New figures question bag tax success

The success of the Republic of Irelands (ROIs) plastic bag tax has come into question as figures reveal that in 2005 it imported 20% more plastic bags and sacks than the year before.
Commissioned by the Packaging and Industrial Films Association (PIFA), the figures were collated and analysed by independent statistical analysts Mike Kidwell Associates.

PIFA chief executive David Tyson said: These are official import export statistics. They expose the myth that a plastic carrier bag tax reduces the use of plastic bags. Such taxes merely displace demand into heavier gauge plastic bags for safe waste disposal or into paper which is proven to have greater environmental impacts.

Whatever the misguided justification for plastic carrier bag taxes, these irrefutable facts show the tax isnt working in Ireland and a tax proposed for Scotland wouldnt work either.

The figures show that the ROI imported 27,777 tonnes of bags and sacks in 2005, estimated to be the equivalent of 5 billion lightweight supermarket carrier bags. This represented an increase of 20.6% from the 23,000 tonnes of plastic bags imported the previous year.

The Carrier Bag Consortium (CBC) chairman Barry Turner said: As was concluded in Westminster in 2002, there are clear, unintended consequences from the Irish tax on plastic bags.

The Scottish Environment and Rural Development Committee is due to report its final position on a proposed Scottish bag tax to Parliament by the end of September.

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