Plas­tic bag charge to be in­tro­duced from Jan­uary

Kathimerini English - - Focus - DIMITRA MANIFAVA

From Jan­uary 1 next year Greeks will have to pay 3 cents for light­weight plas­tic bags such as those cur­rently given away at su­per­mar­kets and other stores. The charge will rise to 0.07 eu­ros from Jan­uary 1, 2019.

The aim of the mea­sure is to dras­ti­cally re­duce the number of plas­tic bags in Greece. At the mo­ment each Greek uses an av­er­age of some 400 plas­tic bags per year but au­thor­i­ties want to re­duce this number to 90 by 2020.

The spe­cial charge that will ap­ply from next year will be col­lected by the In­de­pen­dent Author­ity for Public Rev­enue (AADE) and the funds will then be trans­ferred to the Hel­lenic Re­cy­cling Agency (EOAN). If there are prob­lems meet­ing the tar­gets that have been set, the sale of some types of bags may be banned com­pletely.

The mea­sure, agreed by the Fi­nance Min­istry and AADE, re­lates to poly­thene bags whose thick­ness is no more than 50 mi­crons. Busi­nesses will be al­lowed to charge cus­tomers for thicker car­rier bags, mea­sur­ing be­tween 50 and 70 mi­crons. Re­tail­ers will be al­lowed to pro­vide cus­tomers with free re­us­able bags as long as this is part of a scheme to col­lect light­weight plas­tic bags so they can be re­cy­cled.

The de­ci­sion taken by au­thor­i­ties also bans the use of oxo-degrad­able bags as th­ese are deemed to con­trib­ute to pol­lu­tion when they break up into smaller par­ti­cles. In con­trast, biodegrad­able bags can con­tinue to be sup­plied to cus­tomers free of charge.

Kiosks and other out­door busi­nesses, such as pro­duce sell­ers at open-air mar­kets, will be able to con­tinue to pro­vide their cus­tomers with light­weight plas­tic bags free of charge af­ter Jan­uary 1 next year. How­ever, the car­rier bags that they pro­vide will have to have a se­rial number and a sign that dis­plays the place and time of pro­duc­tion, as well as the pro­ducer’s ID number from the na­tional reg­istry.

If busi­nesses are found to be ig­nor­ing the new reg­u­la­tion, they face fines of be­tween 200 and 5,000 eu­ros. Pro­duc­ers of plas­tic bags can be handed fines of be­tween 1,000 and 10,000 eu­ros if they do not com­ply.

The funds raised by the en­vi­ron­men­tal charge, as well as any fines col­lected, will be used by EOAN to pro­vide in­cen­tives for the wider use of re­us­able bags and to run aware­ness pro­grams in as­so­ci­a­tion with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Car­rier bags will cost 0.03 eu­ros each.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.