Bulgaria Hikes Ecotax on Plastic Bags

Bulgaria Hikes Ecotax on Plastic Bags

Bulgaria Raises Plastic Bag Tax | Plastic Bag Ban Report
SOFIA, Bulgaria, June 20, 2012 (ENS) - The government of Bulgaria will impose an ecotax on the production of all kinds of plastic bags from October 1 in a new attempt to curb their use.

On June 13, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov adopted amendments to the order setting the fee for products that generate widespread waste.

The government had placed a tax on the production of standard thickness bags last October but stores rapidly replaced them with thicker ones to avoid paying the tax.

The government's amended decree hikes the fee on all bags made of conventional plastic polymers and used by consumers for holding and carrying goods. An exception is made for bags that can be disposed of through composting and biodegradation.

Bulgaria's tax on plastic bags is progressive, with high increases scheduled over the next few years.

The tax took effect on October 1, 2011 and requires producers and importers of carry-out plastic bags to pay a tax for each bag sold with a thickness of up to 15 microns. The tax for 2011 is 0.15 Bulgarian lev (BGN) which is approximately US$0.10. The tax increases to BGN 0.35 (US$0.23) in 2012, BGN 0.45 (US$.30) in 2013, and BGN 0.55 (US$0.37) in 2014.

With taxes this high, Bulgaria is essentially banning plastic bags, but today, Bulgarians use an estimated 1.2 billion plastic bags annually. (1)

Bioplastic Alternatives
The U.S. bioplastic manufacturing company Cereplast sees the Bulgarian tax as a boon to its business.

In addition to helping control environmental pollution created by the traditional production of plastic bags, Cereplast says the fee creates a large new market for bioplastic alternatives made from plant materials.

Cereplast anticipates a similar demand for their bioplastic resins from the Bulgarian tax as they have had as a result of the plastic bag ban in Italy.

Bioplastics are made by extracting sugars and starches from plants like corn, tapioca and potatoes. The sugars are then either fermented or converted into a biopolymer, which is the basic building block of bioplastics.

Once a bioplastic product is used and ready to be discarded, it can either be composted or recycled. This characteristic qualifies bioplastic bags for the exception to the Bulgarian government's decree.

"Bulgaria is the next opportunity for bioplastics and for Cereplast," said Cereplast Chairman and CEO Frederic Scheer. "We are well-poised to take advantage of this new demand for our bioplastic resin."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.

Cover Photo: National Assembly of Bulgaria, Sofia (Photo by Nenko Lazarov, courtesy Wikipedia)

Source: Novinite.com, Bulgaria Says No To Plastic Bags, Dec. 21, 2011

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