1bn plastic bags have been cut from circulation in Northern Ireland since the introduction of its plastic carrier bag levy, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The carrier bag levy in the country commenced 8 April 2013. During the fifth year of operation, 98.8m bags were dispensed by retailers under the carrier bag levy in Northern Ireland.
This was 1.1% lower than the previous year, with 1.1m fewer bags dispensed.
The most recent figures relate to the number of bags dispensed by retailers in Northern Ireland between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018.
The number of carrier bags dispensed in 2017/18 is markedly lower than the baseline figure prior to the introduction of the levy, which, for 2012 was estimated at 300m bags.
Year five of the 5p levy saw a reduction in bag numbers of 67.1% compared to the 2012 baseline.
The proceeds of the levy for 2017/18 totalled £4.9m, a reduction of £0.1m (2.0%) from the previous year. Proceeds are taken from audited Departmental financial accounts and are not Official Statistics. They cannot be calculated from bag usage figures due to differences in timing and recording.
Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England all charge a levy on the use of single-use plastic carrier bags.
Prime Minister Teresa May recently confirmed that Government will consult on doubling this levy for England from 5p to 10p.