Greece will ban plastic in the public sector and the procurement of single-use plastics will end as of February 1, 2021, Natural Environment and Waters Secretary General Constantine Aravossis announced on Wednesday.
With a circular sent to all state agencies, the regulation voted by Parliament in October of 2020 will now go into effect, putting an end to the procurement of ten different types of single-use plastics, as per European Union directives.
As of July 3, 2021, specific disposable plastic products — such as forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, plates, straws, food, drink stirrers and beverage containers made of styrofoam — will be banned.
According to the Environment and Energy Ministry, the public sector ban “is the first significant step toward ending the use of disposable plastics in Greece, expected to be fully implemented as of July 3, 2021.”
As of February 1, 2021, the regulation will nullify purchase orders by state agencies for plastic cutlery, plates, straws and drink stirrers, styrofoam food and drink containers and their lids, and all other materials made of non-biodegradable plastic.
July 3, 2021 the key date
The official Ministry circular says that the regulation does not apply to the procurement of plastics for state contracts which are already in process.
With the new bill, Greece will be in harmony with the decisions that have been taken at the EU level on the issue for protection of the environment.
Businesses will be able to supply the above plastic items to consumers, however, until their supplies are depleted.
Also, as of July 3, 2021, the disposal of some biodegradable plastics will also be prohibited. Bags that were initially presented as an “ecological” alternative to ordinary bags have now been found to be simply disintegrating into smaller pieces that are much more difficult to collect.
As of July 1st, municipalities across Greece must equip all playgrounds and municipal sports facilities with drinking water taps, so that there will be no need for the use of bottled water.
Beginning on January 1st, 2022, an environmental tax will be imposed on plastic cups and lids, as well as on disposable food containers. The tax proceeds will go to a special “Green Fund” for actions to protect the marine environment.
At the same time, the bill stipulates that by 2023, the producers of disposable products must either create their own recycling systems or participate in an existing one.