THE plastic bag levy was introduced in March 2002 as a green alternative to plastic bags.
Hailed as a socially conscious move at the time, the State has also benefited from nearly €155m in related revenue to the end of last year.
The individual levy has increased from an initial 15 cent per bag to 22 cent but the law does not apply to those used solely to carry fresh meat, fish, ice, poultry or loose fruit and vegetables.
More specifically, bags not exceeding 225mm in width by 345mm in depth and 450mm in length have been marketed as 'levy-free bags'.
Retailers and supermarkets have since begun to sell more versatile, long-lasting bags to consumers in order to avoid facing levies every time they go shopping.