PUPILS at Corran Integrated Primary School have been getting a handle on the carrier bag levy which will be introduced next month.
Representatives from Eco-Schools, which is run by Tidy Northern Ireland, visited the school last week as part of a “Bring a Bag Week” campaign to explain the importance of re-using plastic bags.
The aim of the ‘Bring a Bag Week’ campaign is to help pupils minimise their usage of single use carrier bags and raise awareness of the carrier bag levy which will apply across Northern Ireland from April 8.
Eco Schools has estimated that around 250 million carrier bags are used in Northern Ireland annually which is equivalent to around 140 for every man, woman and child living here.
During the week, Corran Primary examined the impact of plastic bags on the local environment and considered ways to help reduce single usage and the number going to landfill. Pupils were delighted to receive some reusable ‘bags for life’.
Ian Humphreys, chief executive, Tidy Northern Ireland, said: “We all need to get a handle on this unsightly and potentially lethal waste.
“Introducing a levy is a proven formula for success in removing carrier bags from our towns, river banks and beaches. Involving Eco-Schools in getting the message out there is also a proven route to achieve behaviour change by actively engaging our highly motivated children and young people and through them, their parents.”
Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, commented: “With just over a month to go before the five pence levy on carrier bags comes into force, it is encouraging to see the enthusiasm of children and young people in this initiative.
“As the custodians of tomorrow’s environment they must take a lead in showing us all the importance of reusing carrier bags and greatly reducing our bag consumption.
“From 8 April, it will become law for shops in Northern Ireland to charge at least five pence for each new single use carrier bag they supply to customers. Shoppers can help improve our environment and reinforce Northern Ireland’s clean and green credentials by remembering to bring their own bags when they shop.
“As the children involved in the Bring a Bag week campaign are learning, whether it’s a ‘bag for life’, a canvas bag, or just an ordinary plastic carrier bag, you’ll be helping the environment by bringing your own bag shopping with you and reducing waste that ends up in landfill.”