Italian retailers have introduced a new charge for lightweight plastic and non-biodegradable bags, such as those used for fruit, vegetables and bakery products. The new charge came into effect on 1 January 2018.
Italy has become the first European country to introduce such a measure, which is based on a 2015 EU directive that encourages member states to crack down on disposable non-biodegradable bags, reports Corriere della Sera.
Previously, retailers covered the cost of these bags, but now Italian consumers will pay for them as an additional item on their shopping bill.
The Italian bioplastics association, Assobioplastiche, estimates that households will end up paying between €4.17 and €12.51 per year for the bags, whose unit price ranges from €0.01 to €0.03.
Between 9 and 10 billion non-biodegradable bags are used in Italy annually, amounting to an average of 150 bags per person, according to La Stampa.
However, the decision to charge for these bags has been met with opposition in Italy, with consumer association Codacons claiming that it represents "a new tax on consumers”.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine