Poles started to pay for some disposable plastic bags in shops in January 2018. At present, all plastic bags, with the exception of thin disposable bags for packing bread and vegetables, are paid for. The fees are valid from 1 September 2019.
Extension of fees for plastic bags
The introduction of fees for plastic bags (15 to 50 micrometers thick) in 2018 has not brought any environmental benefits. The environmental effects of reducing the use of plastic bags were not achieved because, as the Ministry of the Environment says, some shops started to deliver bags over 50 micrometers thick to their customers.
As a result, changes were introduced and from 1 September 2019 all plastic bags over 15 micrometers thick are charged in shops. The exception is bags used for packing bread or vegetables. For every other plastic bag, shoppers will pay 20 groszy plus VAT.
The aim is to encourage consumers to gradually discontinue the use of plastic bags. Robert Szyman, Director General of the Polish Plastics Converters Association, in an interview for Newseria Biznes, stated that the regulation, which introduces charges for thicker reusable bags (over 50 micrometers), will cause customers to return to disposable lightweight plastic bags, which is contrary to environmental protection.
Retailers reduce plastic packaging
In order to meet the expectations of Poles who pay more and more attention to the packaging of products they buy, retailers themselves began to strive to reduce plastic packaging, as PMR wrote in April 2019. For example, 100% of Kaufland’s own brand packaging should be recyclable by 2025. The Polish branch of Lidl wants to reduce the consumption of plastic in packaging by 20%.