Charging for Plastic Bags Sees Greek Usage Falls 85%

January 2, 2019

ATHENS – With the cost of plastic bags at Greek supermarkets and retail stories more than doubling – from 4 to 9 cents – on Jan. 1, charging for them in 2018 led to a drop in usage of 85 percent in a bid to reduce the amount of plastic waste.

That assessment came from the Hellenic Recycling Agency (EOAN) which said even the small cost of buying thin plastic bags through a so-called ecotax brought a dramatic decline in how many were being used, the aim of the scheme.

Revenues from the levy, which was introduced to help reduce litter and protect wildlife, are estimated at 7.7 million euros ($8.8 million), the data showed, said Kathimerini. The charges were required under a 2015 European Union directive but took Greece three years to implement.

The project requires governments to ensure that by the end of 2019, no more than 90 single-use bags are consumed annually per person. By the end of 2025, that number should drop to 40 bags each. It is estimated that the average Greek used more than 300 plastic bags in 2017.

The rise from 4 to 9 cents was expected to further drop the use of the thinner plastic single-use bags that were littering landfills and the seas, with the cost driving more people to bring their own to the stores or seek alternatives such as fabric bags for multiple use.

The government said it hoped that the increase would reduce the use per person of the bags in supermarkets and other stores to 90 by 2020 and 40 by 2025 but said businesses that use bags with a thickness of 50-70 microns could give them away free with no explanation how that would reduce the use of plastic.

Also, biodegradable and compostable bags will also be free, as will ones thinner than 15 microns although more retailers are selling reusable bags – some of them plastic – as well as cloth and fabric, since charges began on Jan. 1 this year for single use plastic.

The bags are blamed for extensive environmental damage but the government had been slow to move toward the ban or force stores to charge customers even a minimal amount after howls from retailers.


ATHENS - During the holiday period, shops throughout the country will remain open on weekdays from 9:00 to 21:00, the Hellenic Retail Business Association (SELPE) said in a statement.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Mission…To Tunisia Part 2 – A TNH Documentary by Clelia Charissis (Video)

The coveted exotic beauty of Tunisia is revealed by the 2nd episode of our Mission…To Tunisia – A TNH Documentary.

AL WAKRAH — Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved three penalty kicks in his team's 3-1 win over Japan in a shootout at the World Cup on Monday, securing a return to the quarterfinals for the runner-up in the 2018 tournament.

NICE — French writer Dominique Lapierre, who was celebrated for his novels about the World War II struggle to liberate Paris and depicting a life of hardship in a Kolkata slum, has died.

MOMBASA — Scientists around the world are warning governments who will be gathering in Montreal this week for the United Nations biodiversity summit to not repeat past mistakes and are urging officials to “avoid trade-offs” between people and conservation needs in a report Monday.

TRIPOLIS - Over 200 projects are included in the Comprehensive Development Plan for the Region of the Peloponnese for 2030, totalling 5.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.