An average Greek is adding to the overall pollution by using 250-350 plastic shopping bags each year, leading authorities to a new measure that forces super markets to start charging for them, as of January 1st, 2018.
The measure is dictated by the European Commission, and aims at reducing the rampant use of the free plastic bags super markets give to customers. Super markets will be charging 3 cents per bag as of January. In 2019, the price will go up to 7 cents per bag, still much lower than the EU average, where super markets charge 10-36 cents per bag, depending on the country.
The EU legislation aims at limiting the use of plastic bags to 90 per citizen by 2020 and 40 by 2025. Each Member State can choose how to achieve that, having the option to have super markets charge for the bags or a combination of a charge and tax incentives.
The environmental fee for the plastic bags will be collected by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue. According to the Hellenic Recycling Agency (EOAN), the funds will be used to create consumer awareness for the preferable use of reusable bags to protect the environment.
As of January 1st, businesses will have to put signage in a prominent place saying that plastic bags are subject to an environmental fee.