Greece’s Alternate Minister of Environment and Energy Sokratis Famellos announced on Tuesday that his Ministry will be distributing reusable bags and trolley bags to elderly citizens of 4 Greek municipalities.
Famellos made the announcement during a press conference adding that it was part of a pilot scheme aimed at further reducing the use of plastic bags, he explained.
The Minister also added that the pilot scheme is returning the revenue from the measure (charging 0.03 cent per bag in 2018; 0.07 in 2019), which has been in effect by EU law since 2018.
“We had said from the beginning that the plastic bag charge was not introduced in order to raise revenue but was rather designed to deter people from their use. Our aim was to redistribute any amount collected… back to the citizens”, Famellos said.
According to data he cited, during the first 9 months of 2018, the plastic bag charge yielded 15,506,584.29 euros. Famellos also mentioned that an 80 pct drop in the use of plastic bags has been recorded in supermarkets and big outlets, and 60 pct in the rest of the market.
He went on to stress that the target of the European directive is for the consumption of plastic bags to be reduced to 90 bags per citizen per year, with Greece now recording a little over 100.
“If we don’t meet the target we will revise our strategies. What is certain is that all this is perfectly in line with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and with the strategy for circular economy,” Famellos said.
The four municipalities which will participate in the pilot scheme are: Chalandri, Nafpaktos, Allonisos and Volvi. The reusable bags, made either out of plastic or fabric, have been designed by Greek designer Celia Kritharioti.