Cllr Alan Lawther said: “While this reduction in the number of bags handed out is positive we still need to see the introduction of a levy on plastic bags.
“Northern Ireland could become a leader in environmental protection and we need to see measures like a levy on bags being introduced to help us do that.
“I call on the Minister to create a levy as soon as possible to help encourage even more people to re-use plastic bags. Such a measure would also help raise money which could be put back into environmental projects.
“We also need to see the creation of a Green New Deal for Northern Ireland and money from any bag levy could help boost environmental projects as part of this type of green economy strategy. Introducing a levy would be simple enough to do and would make a real difference in helping increase sustainability in Northern Ireland.”