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Only about half the R1.8-billion raised by the plastic supermarket bag levy since it was introduced 14 years ago has been officially allocated to recycling.

This despite the fact that the levy was originally supposed to go towards development of the recycling sector.

The figure has emerged since the plastic bag levy featured in former finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s February 21 budget speech.

Gigaba said he would be increasing the tax by 50% to 12c a bag and it would be implemented on April 1.

The levy is applied to the manufacturers of the plastic bags‚ but is ultimately passed on to consumers who buy the bags at the tills for varying prices from 60c up.

It was introduced in 2004‚ coupled with a minimum limit on the thickness of the bags to aid recycling and promote re-use‚ after a pact between the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and organised labour and business.

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