Supermarkets “get creative” to offer something other than heavily-taxed plastic bags

With the new green-taxes due to send the price of plastic bags soaring within the next three weeks, supermarkets all over Portugal are getting creative, and starting to offer low-priced alternatives.

According to a report in Público today, chains are returning to the old-fashioned paper bag (Pingo Doce), while raffia too is a popular choice.

Minipreço, the Spanish chain, is said to be studying alternatives and hopes to come up with something that is reusable and tougher than plastic in time to answer customer’s needs.

“Our perspective is that the plastic bag will disappear,” a spokesman told Público.

Sonae, the group running the nation’s Continente hypermarkets, said it is also considering a number of alternatives to the plastic bag.

Meantime, the APHORT, the hotel, restaurant and tourism association, is in uproar over the small-print in the green tax law which effectively outlaws the use of plastic bags purchased before the tax comes into effect (February 15).

As APHORT explains, take-away businesses can have hundreds of thousands of bags in stock. What will happen to them?

Público today suggests the Ministry of the Environment wants businesses to return all unused plastic bags to suppliers.

According to the government, the new tax should bring another €34.4 million pouring into state coffers.

It came as a result of a European Commission ruling that wants to restrict the sale of bags with a thickness of less than 0.05 millimetres.

Data shows that almost 100 billion plastic bags are used in Europe per year – an average of 198 per person.

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