An environmental lobby group has called for a an extension of the plastic bag levy to paper bags.
According to a statement issued by the Friends of the Irish Environment group: "International studies show that paper carrier bags should be included in any plastic bag levy as life cycle analyses show that paper bags have a greater adverse impact than a plastic bag for a number of the environmental issues."
"Manufacturing paper bags increases water consumption, atmospheric acidification (which can have effects on human health, sensitive ecosystems, forest decline and acidification of lakes) and eutrophication of water bodies (which can lead to growth of algae and depletion of oxygen)."
"A paper bag weighs roughly six times more than plastic, is about four times more expensive and takes up to ten times more storage space. The plastic bag levy has led to a displacement to paper bags in which could be as high as 80% according to Irish industry sources. A higher incidence of double bagging of paper bags for strength as well as heavier paper bags is another result of the levy."
Northern Ireland introduced a tax on all single use bags, plastic and paper, in April of this year. Washington DC has now imposed a levy not only on plastic bags but on paper carrier bags as well. The US Capital city follows successful legislation in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as more than 20 bag taxes are being considered across American currently.
"Ireland must update this levy or risk doing more damage than good to the environment."
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