54% Reduction in number of plastic Bags used in Greece since charges were applied

One year after the environmental fee of € 0.04 / piece was imposed on the fine 15-50μm plastic bag, the Ecological Recycling Company, the Mediterranean Network SOS, Greenpeace and WWF Greece proceeded to an analytical account, noting the positive developments, but also the gaps that still exist, to the detriment of both consumers and the environment. In particular, it is estimated that its use throughout Greece has been reduced in pieces by approximately 54% and in the amount of plastic by about 42%.The estimated decrease is a very positive development for 2018. The official records of the Greek Recycling Organization – EOAN (National Producer Registry) special register are expected with the production and consumption statements as a whole of the plastic bag in our country to arrive at the exact reduction rate for 2018.

But the positive ending here, because:

  • Best we could in 2018: The estimated reduction could be even higher if: a) had not been excluded from State fees kiosks and flea markets, b) if it was implemented throughout 2018 a comprehensive renovation program, awareness, and c ) if the distribution of free bags and multipurpose devices to citizens (according to LIFE DEBAG proposals) began in the beginning of 2018 .
  • There is no full return on the environmental tax: While, according to current legislation, the amount of money that would be collected by citizens through the reimbursable environmental tax would be returned to the citizen, with the free distribution of multipurpose bags and various other actions, more than 35% of the contributory fee will not be refunded due to VAT withholding and an additional 20% deduction from the Ministry of Finance (under Law 4270/2014).
  • What rate of return and when it will come : RIS and EANA insist that the rate of return applies only to handbags and carts to the citizens. Ecological organizations estimate that payback means mainly awareness-raising actions with multiple alliances with social actors. It is estimated that citizens will begin to see practically the contributory end of 2018 towards the end of 2019 due to its bureaucratic management choices and its effectiveness will be significantly reduced.
  • Society is filling the vacuum of reciprocity, as citizens have to a large extent already supplied reusable bags and other means of transport for their own purchases. However, this is not a solution, especially since a very large proportion of citizens still choose plastic bags / is not yet familiar with reusable bags.
  • Consumers are turning to the existing yet free options: The use of the ultra-thin plastic bag of less than 15 μm (for fresh fruit and vegetable packaging) has been increased, which is not subject to a contributory environmental charge and which has also been used as a carry bag . Also, due to the exclusion of outdoor markets and booths from the contributory fee, the consumption of plastic bags has not decreased significantly at these points.
  • There is a lot of evidence to suggest that plastic bags are not applied: More and more people are finding that in many categories of stores the payback fee of the plastic bag is not yet in the receipt and is not collected to a large extent.
  • In practice , a rebate environmental tax will not be collected in 2019: There is an offer for plastic bags over 50μm (52μm) in particular, which are not subject to a chargeable fee, from 0.04 € to -0.07 € and is a bit larger and more durable than the classic 16-20 μm thick plastic transport bags that have the obligation to pay the environmental fee. Therefore, as of 1/1/2019, when the payback of the classic plastic bag went up to 0.09 € / piece, it is estimated that consumers will naturally choose the largest and most durable plastic bags of 52μm, which cost less and thus the reimbursable the end of 2019 will almost zero.
  • Retail retailing is legitimate: Already, EOMAN’s retail controls have detected violations and deviations from legislation, as well as cases where consumers are not properly informed by the funds about their choices. Often, retailers show the first choice of the 52μm plastic bag as a “reusable” bag after selecting the classic thin plastic bag, which also contains the rewarding fee. There is a serious gap in the reusable reusable bag specifications, which should be immediately covered by the relevant Ministries to stop potential misinformation of consumers.


Unless the above data changes, it is estimated for 2019 that:

  • It will be questionable to reach the target: In 2019, if the overall countrywide cut of plastic bag pieces reaches 65-70%, it does not appear that the European annual target of 90 pieces per capita will be achieved. head use will range from 120-175 pcs / inhabitant / year depending on the estimates (see table estimates).
  • It is very likely that the amount of plastic in plastic bags will increase: In 2019 the per capita consumption of the plastic in plastic bags may increase from 8-26% compared to 2017 as the fewer plastic bags will be much heavier see table estimates).
  • There will be a negative world record: The 2019 will minimize the administrative charge levied without minimized as the use of plastic bags, and even the amount of plastic to use plastic bags may rise and exceed the levels of 2017 before the imposition payback fee !!! This may be another global originality of our country (see table estimates).


All quantitative estimates for the years 2017 – 2019 are presented in detail in the table below. To prevent this very negative development, the following measures are directly proposed :

  • Remove the exemption from charging the fee in the open-air markets and kiosks.
  • Apply the reimbursement fee to plastic bags with a thickness of 50μm to 70μm.
  • Specify by the competent authorities the specifications of reusable bags.
  • The end-of-service fee of 2018 will be allocated mainly to awareness-raising campaigns – and much less to additional multipurpose handbags.
  • By the end of 2019, the public debate on the timetable for the ban on the use of a plastic bag should begin.

source – ecorec.gr

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