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Use of plastic bags in Greece’s supermarkets decreased by 76% since the fee imposed

The usage of plastic bags has sharply fallen in the last months mainly due to the charge on plastic bags but also due to several campaigns. The measure not only brought extra revenues for the government through the Value Added Tax, totaling one million euros from January to March 2018. The usage of plastic bags in ten supermarkets across Greece decreased by 76 percent.

  • 100 million plastic bags were consumed Jan-Mar creating revenues of 3 million euros for the government plus VAT of 1 million euros.

“The usage has fallen sharply but there is more room for improvement to limit the harmful impact on the environment,” said the Retail Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA)  on Tuesday.

In a bid to reduce problems related to usage of the plastic bags, IELKA launched last year a campaign called “We care today – We live better tomorrow” along with the support of ten of Greece’s largest supermarkets.

According to data unveiled on Tuesday by IELKA general manager Lefteris Kioses, the usage of plastic bags in these ten supermarkets in the first quarter of the year fell by 76 percent, in comparison with the same period a year earlier.

If this consumption rate continues for the rest of the year, then 1.5 billion fewer bags will be taken by shoppers at supermarkets.

Some 100 million bags were consumed in January to March, creating revenues of 3 million euros for the government plus VAT of 1 million euros, Kioses said. IELKA said.

And here some remarks:

  1. The €3 million revenues from the so-called “Environment Fee” on plastic bags, €0.4 to €0.7, are supposed to be used for the protection of environment and not just fill the state cash registers or used for other purposes incl loan repayment to creditors.
  2. IELKA did not release data about the revenues earned by the supermarket sale of bags made of alternative material and at much higher price.
  3. Although I am customer in two of the ten supermarkets participating in the campaign, I never got aware of this campaign. Organizers might need to improve it.

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3 comments

  1. This measure should be implemented everywhere in the world. There is no excuse for not using cloth or long-lasting bags out of recycled plastic. .

  2. This action is only part of what should be done. It would make more sense for ALL bottled soft drinks using plastic to be banned. The amount of plastic in one bottle is a lot more than one bag. Unfortunately I doubt this will happen as companies using plastic bottles obviously don’t care and if they did they would have started using an alternative.

  3. We’ve had this policy for years in Toronto and most of Ontario and Canada. Lots of alternatives, some made of corn. Some come as gifts with magazine subscription or in the newspaper. I only buy them when I need garbage bags.