Greek Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis tabled a bill in parliament this week which – once passed – will ban the use of single-use plastics by July 2021.
The draft legislation also includes national measures, incentives to promote “greener practices” in businesses and households, and penalties for failure to do so.
Aiming to set an example, the environment ministry as well as all public services are scheduled to do away with single-use plastic at the start of next year, six months ahead of the official deadline.
“In view of the fact that disposable plastics make up 50 percent of all sea waste and that our country is recognized for its environment and its clean seas and coasts, we are moving ahead with a comprehensive intervention, which not only incorporates the relevant EU directive to combat plastic pollution, but also introduces national measures, with incentives for the reuse and recycling of the products we use daily,” said Hadzidakis.
“We are legislating in time for consumers to learn and for the market to adapt smoothly to the new data,” he added.
More specifically the bill foresees:
– the ban on distribution sale or use of single-use plastics as of July 2021 and in January 2021 for the public sector,
– the ban of 10 single-use plastic items includes straws, cotton buds, cutlery, plates, all Styrofoam containers and cups, drink stirrers, balloon holders, as well as oxo-degradable plastics.
The target is to reduce the use of plastic cups and food containers by 30 percent until 2024 and by 60 percent by 2026, as well as encourage a more circular economy while motivating businesses to redesign products and recycle.
The decision comes as part of the EU Plastics Strategy, the first-ever Europe-wide action to address the issue of plastic waste.
At the same time, the bill lays out the groundwork for Greece’s transition into a greener economy with incentives for the support of environmentally-friendly practices and investments which include a “green” levy for plastic cups and food containers used from January 1, 2022 onward and which will go into the Green Fund and be returned to municipalities and regions for actions to combat environmental pollution caused by these products; mandatory disposal of reusable alternative products; municipalities will be required to have public taps for the free supply of drinking water at municipal sports facilities and playgrounds as of July 1, 2021; and refunds for the return to points of sale of plastic bottles for recycling.
Penalties include a percentage on turnover for the previous year for manufacturers; 5 euros per item with a minimum fine of 1,000 euros for food & beverages (F&B) services providers; and 1,000 euros on F&B services failing to pay the ‘plastics levy’, among others.