Campaigns to inform consumers about plastic bag levy in Cyprus

As of July 1st, there will be a charge for the use of plastic shopping bags, in the framework of Cyprus’ harmonisation with an EU Directive, aiming at protecting the environment.

In view of the levy, which will be a minimum of 5 cents plus 19% VAT per bag, campaigns are being organised to inform consumers.

The Department of Environment, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, is launching a campaign to run from June 23 till July 8, with informative material and alternative solutions. The campaign will be formally opened on June 25 at the Mall of Engomi, where Environment Department officers will be giving information to the public.

The Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus, the Office of the Environment Commissioner, the Cyprus Association of Supermarkets, and the Cyprus Consumers Association are organising a campaign on June 30. For an hour on that day, their representatives will be outside various supermarkets, handing out informative material and free reusable bags to the first one hundred customers.

In a press release, the Environment Department notes that the measure concerns the thin plastic shopping bags less than 50mm thick. These bags will no longer be provided free by sellers. The exception are the bags used as packaging for unpacked foodstuff, for hygienic reasons or to prevent waste.

Furthermore, the Office of the Environment Commissioner points out in a press release that, according to European Commission data, every year Europeans produce 25 million tonnes of plastic waste and less than 30% of this waste is sent for recycling. Globally, plastic materials constitute 85% of waste on beaches, and even end up in people’s food and lungs.

It adds that disposable plastics need just five seconds to be produced, are used for five minutes at the most, and need at least 500 years to decompose.

According to the European Directive, member states will have to reduce the use of plastic bags by 90 maximum by the end of 2019 and 40 per capita by the end of 2025.

** The report is in the context of the project Rethink: Reduce- Reuse � Recycle which is funded by the EU programme LIFE+ (project code: LIFE13 INF/CY/000910) of the EU. Coordinating Beneficiary: CyBC. Partners: Green Dot Cyprus, Department of Environment, Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, CNA, Fost Plus Belgium **

Source: Cyprus News Agency