person putting fruit inside plastic bag

Consumers “not yet being charged for wafer thin plastic bags”

Charges ‘should be sorted by end March’, says environment ministry

With goods and services almost across the board increasing in price as of January 1, one new ‘tax’ has not yet been fully sorted.

The State Budget for this year envisages a 4 cent charge for thin plastic bags (the kind that shoppers put fruit and vegetables into before weighing and paying for them), but the measure “is not being applied by shopkeepers”, say reports.

Distributors cite “unresolved operational issues” (not really specifying what these are: perhaps shoppers also need to be advised to bring their own bags?)

According to SIC Notícias, the ministry of environment has said that once these unresolved issues have been dealt with – and once president Marcelo rubber stamps the new law – the charges will begin.

Shopkeepers meantime have complained of a lack of forewarning.

SIC adds that the ‘benefit’ to the environment has also not been wholeheartedly appreciated: traders particularly are uncomfortable with passing yet another cost on to consumers (with all the price increases that have been taking place recently); entities focused on climate issues say the move will do nothing to reduce the production of waste.

And then there is the question of how to cope if shoppers do not want to buy a bag, and expect checkout staff to handle loose fruit/ vegetables/ rolls of bread etc.

According to SIC, a ministry source has suggested ‘the end of March’ as a date when all these logistics will have been sorted – coincidentally the moment when the country will have voted in a new government. ND

Source: SIC Notícias