Three plastic bag manufacturers have shut down, output in the industry has dropped 80 percent 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 January 1.
The levy, which currently includes value-added tax of 0.01 euros per bag too, will rise 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.
In an effort to avert that prospect and stop the levy increase, the association has submitted a demand to that end to the Environment Ministry and raised the issue with the National Recycling Corporation. It is yet to receive any response.
The companies’ 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 projections. This runs counter to an estimate by the Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA) of a current average rate of 130-135 bags/person.