Information and guidance regarding the Carrier Bag Levy in Northern Ireland

Important Information
The new NI Levy system is now live.
If you are a retailer and make declarations, the way you sign in will change and the way we communicate with you will also change.
Video guidance on how to register and sign in to Carrier Bag Levy is available below. 


The overriding objective of the levy is to protect the environment by achieving significant reductions in the number of bags in circulation.  The reduction in bags in circulation saves natural resources, reduces the need for landfill and makes our country both cleaner and greener and a better place to live and do business.

Situations where the levy applies:

The levy applies to carrier bags of all materials - it's not just plastic bags.

The levy applies to carrier bags when:

  • you buy goods like groceries or clothing
  • goods delivered or collected from premises (click and collect),  where carrier bags are used.

Retailers set the price of their bags which means that prices may vary. However, only the proceeds of the levy are paid to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Situations where the levy does not apply:

Since 1 April 2022, the levy does not apply when bags:

  • only contain items such as unpackaged food, seeds and bulbs, axes, knives or razor blades, goods contaminated by soil and some medicinal products
  • are of certain sizes and used only to contain packaged uncooked meat or fish
  • contain take-away hot food and hot drinks
  • are sealed transit bags at restricted areas in airports
  • are specialist bags, such as mail order and courier bags
  • bags made of any material, with maximum dimension of 125mm (width) x 155mm (height) and a maximum gusset of 50mm
  • are specialist bags, such as mail order and courier bags
  • live aquatic
  • are supplied for free to replace worn out ‘bags for life’
  • are carrier bags with a retail price of more than £5 contain items or appliances supplied under a prescription

Retailers’ responsibilities:

When the levy applies, retailers must:

  • charge customers the levy for each new carrier bag given out. 
  • pay the net proceeds of the levy to DAERA.  The proceeds are used for environmental projects within NI.
  • Note: From 1 April 2022 the levy is 25p for bags of all materials with a retail price of £5 or less.  Prior to 1 April 2022, the levy was 5p for bags of all materials with a retail price of less than 20p.

Each quarter retailers are required to:

  • declare the number of carrier bags they have given out for which they only charged the levy.
  • declare the number of carrier bags they have given out for which they charged both the levy and their own retail price and make the associated payment to DAERA within 28 days of the end of the quarter
Quarter Period Owing Payment Due
Quarter 1 April, May and June 1 July - 28 July
Quarter 2 July, August and September 1 October - 28 October
Quarter 3 October, November and December 1 January - 28 January
Quarter 4 January, February and March 1 April - 28 April

Pay online

​To make your declaration and payment online, use the Carrier bag levy retailer registration login 

How to register and sign in (videos)

Registering and signing in with Government Gateway

VAT information

If you only charge the levy, then the full amount per bag should be paid to DAERA as VAT does not apply.

If you add your own charge for a bag on top of the levy, the full amount then becomes vatable.  Therefore if you charge anything in addition to the levy the payment to the Department will be made with the VAT removed i.e. 20.8333p payable from 1 April 2022 and 4.1666p is payable in respect of any period prior to 1 April 2022.

When you make your declaration, the system will calculate the amount to be paid to DAERA. VAT proceeds should be paid to HM Revenue & Customs in the normal way.

Carrier Bag Levy NI – Don’t Pay to Throw Away!

Download your poster or shelf cards here...

Reuse your Carrier Bags! Carrier Bag Levy NI - Carrier Bag Levy NI, The carrier bag levy is now 25p for all carrier bags priced at £5 or less. Don’t pay to throw away! Find out more about the carrier levy at:

How the money is used

The carrier bag levy was introduced in 2013 and the proceeds generated have been used and will continue to be used in the delivery of local projects which both enhance and improve the environment. The Environment Fund is one of the mechanisms through which the proceeds of the carrier bag levy have been used to allow not-for-profit organisations and councils to deliver key environmental priorities across Northern Ireland. Through funding these projects, the carrier bag levy proceeds helps to sustain, improve and enrich the natural environment in Northern Ireland.

Reusing bags

You should only use clean bags in a good state of repair.  Reuse your bags always and clean them often.  Reuse your bags always and clean them often. Bags which are torn or contaminated with food should be recycled at carrier bag recycling points.



DAERA has also published guidance on the:


You can also find further information on Carrier Bag Levy statistics.

Carrier Bag Levy Consultation 2021 Results

Further Information

If you would like any further information please contact the Carrier Bag Levy Team.

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