Plastic bag taxes – and the costs saved

It’s 13 years since Ireland introduced a plastic bag levy of 15c, then 22c. Since then, around €200m has been collected from consumers. England recently introduced a similar scheme and this prompted me to reflect on what the less use of plastic bags has meant for Ireland – with a cost/accounting angle of course.

The first thing that strikes me is the lack of plastic bags stuck in hedges. Not only does this mean a cleaner countryside, but much lower clean up costs for local councils.Second, I would say the packaging industry did not lose out, as paper bags are generally available in stores – cost neutral in terms of employment. This is good too as paper is renewable, but also lost people have a car boot full of reusable bags. I still have some dating back to 2002 believe it or not. Third, as a tax it worked in that it changed our behaviour as a nation – for the good of the exchequer and the environment.



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About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

2 responses to “Plastic bag taxes – and the costs saved”

  1. Manoz says :

    Hello Martin

    I had a look at one of your blog about ROCE which is a clear and easy to understand.

    However I am struggling to calculate the ROCE for Tesco in 2014 and my calculated ROCE does not match with london exchange.

    For example,

    From URL: URL :

    Under Tesco’s fundamental 2014, I have tried to double check with ROCE by calculating:

    Operating Profit = £2631M

    Total Asset = £50164M

    Current Liabilities = £21399M

    ROCE = 9.145%

    My calculated ROCE still does not match to London Exchange’s Tesco ROCE 2014 = 10.36% under Ratios – based on IFRS

    Could you please clarify why and provide a working out?

    • martinjquinn says :

      Hello Manoz, what you are trying to do is tricky, as the basic ROCE formula is often used in different ways. Try using Equity + Non-Current liabilities + current liabilities which relate to non-current (for example the current portion on borrowings)

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