From January 1st, 2018, our habit as consumers to overload with disposable plastic bags for our shopping, will cost us a few cents of the euro. This is because the time has come for Greece to be in harmony with a European Directive that is already successfully applied in other european countries and aims to drastically reduce the use of the plastic bag, for the benefit of the environment and all the living organisms of our planet.
Numbers, as always, tell hard facts:
- Every year in Europe about 8 billion plastic bags end up in the rubbish. And as rubbish, they are the cause of death for at least 100.000 birds and marine animals annually.
- 1 out of 4 offshore fish may contain microplastics.
- By 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.
- Only 1% of the plastic bags are recycled.
- 1 in 2 marine litter in Greece is plastic bags.
- The cost to collect from the bottom of the sea a plastic bag is 10 times more than it’s cost of production.
- It takes at least 1.000 years for a plastic bag to decompose.
According to a survey conducted by the greek Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA), around 400 plastic bags account annually for each inhabitant in Greece, a figure that brings Greece by far to the first position in use of plastic bags, compared to the European average of 175 bags.
The European Directive declares that member states should take measures to ensure that the annual consumption level does not exceed the number of 90 plastic bags per capita by December 31st, 2019 and 40 plastic bags until December 31st,2025. In order to meet these goals, consumption in Greece must be reduced by 80% by 2019 and by 90% by 2025.
The positive thing is that 91% of the Greeks agree to reduce the use of the plastic bag and 64% believe it should be totally forbidden. However, in practice only 8% use reusable bags systematically and 23% often (source: IELKA). The reason? We forget it… Perhaps by paying each time the price to the cashier, this may help our memory 🙂
It is worth mentioning that some greek islands, such as Alonissos, Sifnos, Tinos and Santorini, have already taken the first step towards removing the plastic bag from the market, providing their residents with the option of alternative, environmentally friendly options for their shopping.
So, the ecological message of the year is to start using multipurpose shopping bags. Not so much for reasons of economy as for our own good, since the pollution caused by the tons of plastic that ends up in the environment, returns to us through the food chain.
Use eco-friendly multipurpose bags …it’s good for you!