Charge aims to wean Greeks off plastic bags

eKathimerini  — Plastic bags will cost up to 8 cents each in supermarkets as of July 2018, as a bill from the Environment Ministry is to be passed that will finally incorporate into Greek law a European Union directive dating from 2015 that should have been introduced last November.

Ahead of the measure’s full application in just over a year’s time, supermarkets will start charging shoppers up to 4 cents per bag from January 2018.

The revenues from the charge will go toward environmental actions as well as local authorities to supply consumers with reusable bags.

The charge is expected to reduce the use of plastic bags in Greece, which is currently estimated at an EU-leading 4.5 billion bags per annum, or 400 for each inhabitant every year. Two-thirds of all those bags come from supermarkets.

In an effort to change consumers’ mentality to minimize the effect on the environment, four of the country’s biggest supermarket chains will launch a summer campaign on June 20 with posters informing the public about the consequences of the use of plastic bags on the environment. The campaign will shift to schools in the fall.