The House Environment Committee has asked the Finance Ministry to create a ‘Green Fund’ to collect the revenue raised from the newly-introduced fee on single use plastic bags and to spend it on environmental campaigns.
The new regime, which came into effect on July 1 and provides for a €0.05 charge plus VAT on every single use plastic bag, has led to an impressive 80% plunge in their use in supermarkets.
Current laws say that 50% of the income should go to funding free, multiple-use bags and the other 50% towards environmental events.
However, there are “grey areas” as to where the income from plastic bag charges goes, Committe President Adamos Adamou said.
According to Adamou, there is profiteering from plastic bags and despite its efforts, the Department for the Environment cannot run enough checks because of the large number of outlets.
Green Party MP Charalambos Theopemptou said that although results show that the law has proven to be effective, the money from plastic bags may end up staying in the hands of those who sell them.
A ‘Green Fund’ which will receive and manage the money should be created, he added.
Plastic bag use in supermarkets has dropped by 80% after the new law as consumers now use 180,000 plastic bags each month compared to 1.3 million before the law, according to DISY MP, Eleni Stavrou.
“This is a transitional phase” as the end-goal is to completely ban plastic bags, Adamou concluded.