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Ban the Bag! Turkey stops using plastic bags

3rd January 2019

Ban the Bag! End of plastic bag use in Turkey…

The recent charges applied to plastic bags in Turkey appears to have had a sudden and quite dramatic effect.  Plastic bag usage has now reduced by 70%, this was on the first actual day of the policy being applied.

Ahmet Varır the head of a department targeting the regulation at the Environment and Urbanization Ministry said that the number of individual plastic bags used by shoppers dropped by 70% in one day since the nationwide charge was applied on the the 1st of January.

“On the first day of the implementation, we have seen a decrease of up to 70 percent for plastic bag usage in some places. We will see the results more clearly when we announce the figures in 10 to 15 days,” he told state-run Anadolu Agency on 2nd January.

Supermarkets are to charge a minimum of 25 kuruş per plastic bag according to Varir.  They may charge more if they choose.  However stores charging more money for the plastic bag would have to declare the revenue generated and give it to the government, he said.

“Grocery stores making profit from the plastic bag is not a matter of discussion. The regulation does not allow this,” he added.

“Before the charge, customers would use three to four bags despite buying one item. Now they bring their own bags or boxes,” a grocer said.

The new legislation was implemented in a bid to reduce litter in Turkey.

Each year tons of plastic has been dumped all over Turkey, this plastic takes hundreds of years to break down and is detrimental to the environment and nature.  It is especially dangerous to marine life.

The new reduction in plastic bag usage across Turkey should greatly help this cause and is definitely a step in the right direction.

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