Delhaize Serbia supermarket chain has raised their price of plastic bags from 2 to 5 dinars which makes shoppers wonder what was the real reason for charging for plastic bags in the first place – protecting the environment or profiting from the sale of bags?
Since retailers started charging for plastic bags last year, the number of plastic bags used for shopping in Serbia has fallen by 65 percent. The new, higher prices charged by Maxi supermarkets and Shop and Go reduced the plastic bag consumption by an additional 10 percent.
About 8,000 tonnes of plastic bags are produced in Serbia annually with some retailers directing the proceeds from their sale to humanitarian purposes. Delhaize Serbia spent over a half a million euro on various environmental projects last year.
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“Correction of the prices of disposable plastic bags is just one in a series of measures that the company is implementing in order to reduce the total amount of plastic in the system. We are also working on finding an alternative solution for disposable plastic bags in order to stop selling them at our stores all together from January 1st next year”, says Milica Popovic from Delhaize Serbia.
However, consumer protection organizations are not that quick to believe supermarket chains.
“The end goal of the increase in the price of plastic bags is increasing profits, not protecting the environment”, says Petar Bogosavljic from the Consumer Protection Movement Belgrade.
Charging for plastic bags was optional, not mandatory –says the line ministry, adding that no money generated from their sale is paid into the state budget.
“There is no legal obligation, no green fund, and no dedicated funds (the so-called green dinar) that are being paid into the state budget from the sale of plastic bags, or a direct benefit from it for the state environmental authorities. It is all down to supermarket chains themselves”, the assistant to the Minister for Environmental Protection, Filip Abramovic explains.
As of January 1st, 2020, the European Union will limit the use of plastic bags per capita at 90 per year. From 2025, this number will be reduced to 40.
(Nova Ekonomija, 28.01.2019)
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