Shops required to charge for plastic bags as of next year

As of January 1, 2018, there will be a charge for thin plastic bags, which will no longer be supplied for free, the Hellenic Recycling Organisation said. This will be accompanied by a compensatory environmental tax for each plastic bag purchased, as is the case in other European countries.

In 2015, the annual consumption of plastic bags in Greece was between 242 and 363 pieces per person, while in 2010, 98.6 billion plastic bags were used throughout Europe.

Plastic bags cause irreparable damage and can kill fish, marine organisms and birds, they can disintegrate and pollute drinking water and ultimately harm everyone. Their damaging impact is long-lasting and continues for decades or even centuries.

In 2015, the EU adopted a directive that aims to reduce consumption of plastic bags to 90 per citizen by 2019 and 40 by the end of 2025. In line with this directive, Greece has created a legal framework to stop the free distribution of plastic bags in supermarkets and retail outlets from 2018.