Free plastic shopping bags banned from start of new year


Supermarkets and retail stores will stop giving out free plastic bags in the new year as part of efforts to curb environmental pollution caused by the extensive use by of non-biodegradable carrier bags.

Greece’s decision to ban free carrier bags as of January 1 is in accordance with a 2015 European Union directive aimed at limiting use per person to 90 bags a year by 2019 and 40 by 2025.

According to the Hellenic Recycling Agency (EOAN), in 2015 alone Greeks used between 242 and 363 plastic bags per person, while in the EU as a whole, use came to 98.6 billion plastic bags.

Since it was invented 52 years ago, the plastic bag has become a major threat to marine life and other ecosystems due to widespread and unrestricted use, EOAN warns.