Plastic bag manufacturers protest 2019 levy hike

eKathimerini — In an effort to stop a planned plastic bag levy increase due on 1 Jan 2019, the plastic bag manufacturers have demanded that the  Environment Ministry scraps the increase.

The levy, which currently also includes value-added tax of 0.01 euros per bag, will increase to 0.09 euros/bag from next January, which according to members of the Association of Hellenic Plastics Industries will kill off dozens of companies in the sector.

Three plastic bag manufacturers have shut down, output in the industry has dropped 80% and workers are being laid off as the plastics sector reels from the 0.04-euro environmental levy slapped on each single-use plastic bag since 1 January  2018.

The manufacturers main argument against a hike in the bag levy is that the European Union target for the number of single-use plastic bags used by each person to drop to 90 bags a year by December 31, 2019 has already been attained, as by the end of this year the annual rate will have dropped to just 62 bags/person, according to the association’s own projections.

However, according to estimates by the Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA) the current average use is 130-135 bags/person/year.