The government estimates that 1.2 billion plastic bags are given out free every year. This is to end with the introduction of the 15 cent levy.
They are used for minutes, but last for hundreds of years. The aim is to eliminate their use altogether.
There are mixed reviews from shoppers on the streets of the Liberties in Dublin to the introduction of this new levy.
It is intended that the new levy will raise as much as €174 million which will go into an environment fund. While the levy is being introduced for largely environmental reasons, it has put in jeopardy nearly 200 jobs in bag manufacturing.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 4 March 2002. The reporter is Paul Cunningham.
The levy had an immediate effect on consumer behaviour with an estimated decrease in plastic bag usage from 328 bags per capita to 21 bags per capita overnight.