Sales of plastic bags sold at Greece’s supermarkets went down 80 percent in the month of January, just 31 days after the Environment Ministry imposed a charge of at least 4 cents per bag.
According to surveys conducted by Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA) in supermarket chains but also retail shops and other sales points the findings are:
In supermarkets, the implementation of the extra charge for plastic bags was rigorous and nationwide.
- A decrease of 75%-80% in purchase of the thin plastic bags was recorded in January 2018 in comparison to January 2017.
- An increase of over 5,000% in the sale of multipurpose bags
More than 2 out of 3 households opt for the solution of multipurpose bags when compared to pay for a disposable plastic bag.
In other channels of trade and catering the findings are:
- Extensive implementation of the measure, but with differentiation depending on the industry and the region.
- Extensive application of the measure in food retailing (bakeries, butchers etc) and especially in organized chain stores.
For example in the clothing retail plastic bags have been replaced with other types of bags such as paper-bags.
Small application of the measure in the catering industry with the exception of organized chain catering.
The measure receives greater implementation in urban centers than in the province.
Plastic bags for purchases at the open markets (laiki) and kiosks are free of charge.
In super markets the thin bags cost €0.4, while the thicker and bigger are sold at €0.7.
The 0.7-euro bags are a good and practical option as they can carry content of two thinner bags and can be used several times. They are brighter than the thinner ones. And really comfortable to carry goods from the supermarket to home.
For many Greeks now the purchase of small bags at bakeries or a pharmacy is now a No-No. I cannot tell whether this attitude has to do with the new environmental awareness or the economic crisis where thousands have to turn a euro-cent twice before they spend it. I bet for the second assumption.
Can we live 100% without plastic bags? Certainly. Once there are solutions for the households wet garbage, pets litter, babies and seniors diapers, bathroom disposal.