Charge for plastic bags to be introduced next month

31 October 2016
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In a bid to reduce waste the country produces, a 0.05- to 0.1-euro charge for disposable plastic bags will be introduced at supermarkets next month, the Environment Ministry has announced.

The measure comes in response to a circular approved by European Parliament in May, 2015, whereby European Union member-states are required to reduce the annual disposal of plastic bags to 90 per person by the end of 2019 and 40 by 2025, or to ensure that a levy is introduced for plastic bags by the end of 2018.

The EU average currently stands at 198 per year per resident, while there are large discrepancies between member-states.

Denmark and Finland have already reduced their figures to just four per person annually, compared to more than 400 bags per person in countries like Portugal, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

In Greece, 242 bags are used per person on an annual basis, while in Cyprus the figure is 125.
“I believe the consumption of plastic bags in our country is higher,” said Giorgos Papatheodorou, coordinator of the Life De-Bag program. “This means we have some way to go. We must align with EU law, so that the faster we take action, the better.”
The measure has already been introduced as a pilot program on several islands, including Syros and Alonisos.

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