Plastic bag charge carries to Norway
Plastic bags are to carry charges in Norway in an effort to offset environmental damage.
The new plastic bag charge will, though, not be administered by the state, with the government saying it supports an industry initiative to implement the fee, reports news agency NTB.
“With the establishment of the Handelens Environmental Fund, we are killing two birds with one stone: we meet EU requirements for reducing plastic carrier bags while also creating an effective resource against plastic pollution,” administrative director Vibeke Hammer Madsen of Virke, the company with overall responsibility for the fund, told NTB.
50 øre – or half of one krone – from every plastic bag sold will be donated to the fund, according to the report.
The current cost of a plastic carrier bag in Norwegian stores is one krone (around 10 euro cents).
The new initiative did not necessarily mean an increase in that cost, Madsen said.
“The final price of a plastic bag is up to the retailer. The point of the Handelens Environmental Fund is that 50 øre will be earmarked to an environmental fund,” she said.
Estimates by Virke place the potential total that could be raised at 400 million kroner annually.
Norway is obliged to comply with an EU directive requiring member states to reduce plastic carrier bag production through its EEA relationship with the bloc.
According to the Norwegian Environment Agency, 930 million plastic bags were used in Norway in 2014 – the equivalent of 180 bags per person.
The introduction of a mandatory plastic bag fee was discussed during budget negotiations in 2014, but was later abandoned due to political opposition.
That proposal would have seen charges of 1.5 krone per bag.
“It is much more goal-oriented for the private sector to take responsibility for this and thereby help to meet the EU’s requirement for reducing plastic bags,” Madsen told NTB.
She hopes that the charge can be implemented by the beginning of next year.
READ ALSO: Norway to send EEA millions to Portugal