Volunteers yesterday handed out free reusable shopping bags in central Athens as a municipal pilot scheme, aimed at phasing out the use of plastic bags, was launched in nine supermarkets. Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, who has spearheaded efforts to boost recycling in the capital, said that he believed shoppers would adopt greener ways. «We as Greeks are not lacking in sensitivity or decisiveness but simply are not well informed,» he said. «When we are correctly informed, then I believe our mentality changes,» he said, noting that a recent 15-day awareness campaign attracted 100,000 participants. The six-week scheme is to lead to the replacement of plastic bags with alternatives made of starch or other biodegradable materials, or of fabric, from June 1. The bags, which are said to last for 18 to 20 months, will be sold for 7 cents each at the stores participating in the scheme, which include all the major chains.