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Plastic bag use slashed by 80% in first year of new law

July 1, 2019 at 11:55am
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Use of single use plastic bags has plummeted by 80%, a year after the introduction of a 5 cent levy, Elena Christodoulidou of the Environment Service told the Cyprus News Agency.

The EU mandated law came into effect on July 1 last year as part of efforts to combat pollution.  It requires retailers to charge a fee for the use of single use plastic bags.

“Implementation of the measures has led to a significant reduction in the use of plastic bag. The public easily accepted this measure and responded to it positively. Use is down by 80%,” she said.

Asked whether Cyprus was considering banning single use plastic bags altogether, Christodoulidou said this was under consideration.

Additional measures are in the pipeline for other single use plastics as Cyprus moves to comply with a new EU directive on items such as plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds.

These products, which make up over 70% of marine litter, will be banned from the EU market from 2021.

The consumption of several other items, for which no alternative exists, will have to be reduced by member states by least 25% by 2025.

This includes single-use burger boxes, sandwich boxes or food containers for fruits, vegetables, desserts or ice creams. Member states will draft national plans to encourage the use of products suitable for multiple use, as well as re-using and recycling.

Other plastics, such as beverage bottles, will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.

Christodoulidou said that the new directive is being transposed into Cypriot law.