Poland: Introduction of recycling fee for plastic bags at supermarkets

On 1 January, the recycling fee came into force in Poland, which means that customers will have to pay more for their shopping bags. Also, the few stores where shopping bags had been free so far won't be able to continue offering this service.

Under the new regulations, the fee applies to foils with a thickness of 15 to 50 micrometres. It will consequently exclude very light plastic shopping bags (i.e. bags with a thickness below 15 micrometres), provided that they are used only for hygienic reasons or for the packaging of food sold in bulk (vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, etc.) when this prevents it from being wasted.

At the same time, the leading trade units (issuing plastic shopping bags) will not have to keep records and report on the number of bags they have issued. The number of bags issued to users in a given year will be determined on the basis of information on the proceeds from the recycling fee, which will be forwarded to the Minister of the Environment by voivodship marshals with the help of the Product and Packaging Database and Waste Management (BDO). Information on light shopping bags issued in a given year will be transferred annually by Poland to the European Commission.

The experience of other European Union Member States (such as Bulgaria, Ireland, Great Britain, Latvia and Hungary) shows that such fees strongly encourage consumers to limit the use of plastic bags. It is thus expected that their use will also be reduced in Poland. At the same time, the demand for eco-friendly bags is expected to increase.

Source: pomorska.pl

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