The Carrickfergus Councillor said: “The new Assembly has a great opportunity to show how committed it is to protecting the environment by placing a levy on plastic bags.
“Such a charge would encourage people to save and reuse their plastic bags, instead of getting new ones at every shopping trip.
“Even if you only buy only one product at a supermarket they give you a plastic bag. This may seem inconsequential in itself, but every bag mounts up and the level of emissions used to produce them has a harmful effect on the environment.
“A levy would also help address the problem of littering. We often see tattered plastic bags on pavements or in hedges across Northern Ireland. If this measure were introduced, people would be less willing to discard these bags.
“Financially, the levy itself would raise a substantial sum of money which could be ploughed into local environmental projects. This cash would go a long way towards helping more local people install renewable energy sources in their homes or improving recycling services in Northern Ireland.
“After a plastic bag levy was introduced in the Republic of Ireland, it cut plastic bag usage by 90% and helped provide over £93 million for environmental schemes. These statistics show that the creation of such legislation by the Assembly would have a very positive impact on the environment.”