Cyprus will step up its battle against plastic with the introduction of a 5 cent levy on plastic bags at points of sale as from 1 July. But weeks before implementation of the new law, the Environment Service is still looking for ways to inspect and ensure compliance with the law.
The EU harmonisation law aiming at reducing the use of plastic, was approved last November and becomes applicable on 1 July from which date a minimum charge of €5 cent plus VAT will be levied on plastic bags. Despite warnings from MPs that they will be keeping a close eye on the implementation of the new law and if necessary would amend it and even prohibit plastic bags altogether if the new regime does not deliver the desired results, the Environment Service is still not in a position to say who will be in charge of ensuring compliance. The Environment Service is understood to have floated some proposals, but no decisions have yet been taken.
Another complication is the absence of penalties in the law, as approved, even though it falls within the framework of the Packaging and Refuse Law which does provide for penalties.
Both the Environment Service and the Supermarkets Association have clarified that consumers can bring their own bags into a supermarket, even if it bears the name of another outlet.
The Supermarkets Association has said that it is ready to implement the fee of €5 cent plus VAT, with members already making the necessary changes to their cash registers.