A fee for plastic bags 50-150 μm thick is result of the obligation imposed by the EU related to limiting the number of plastic bags placed on the market.
A problem of plastic bag waste and its impact on the environment, as well as a consumption of plastic bags in European Union is huge, considering difficulties with their processing and management. Obligatory fee for plastic bags 15-50 μm thick is the obligation of the UE duty related to minimisation of placed on market plastic bags’ amount, which are hazardous for the environment. An entrepreneur who keep a retail or wholesale unit, in which he offers lightweight plastic bags dedicated to packing things is responsible to collect a recycling fee from a client who buys such plastic bag. Revenue from the recycling fees collected by the entrepreneur is the income of country budget and it needs to be paid by 15 march of the year following the calendar year in which it was collected. In some cases may be disputable situations with the recycling fee law. If products are given away and packed into a disposable bag, the recycling fee will not be charged. The same thing is with fabric foil packaging. If the goods are packed into such kind of bag, the fee will not be charged as well. It was found that the recycling fee will be charged for plastic shopping bags offered at retail or wholesale points, if the thickness of the material is between 15 and 50 micrometers.

Resources needed

According to the rules, the maximum rate of a fee for plastic bag is 1 PLN (0,25 EUR). Recently, the fee equals 0,25 PLN (0,06 EUR). Obtained funds from the fees will be donated to the environmental education in reducing the use of plastic bags.

Evidence of success

A fee for plastic bags’ consumption contributes to the reduction of waste as well as the environmental protection. It could cause also a decrease the use of plastic bags from 300 to 200 per capita. Furthermore, it relates to circular economy principles and the waste management hierarchy, when it comes to minimisation. Obligation to finance educational campaigns will promote good habits in society.

Difficulties encountered

Challenges encountered in the practice of a fee for plastic bags’ consumption could be lack of habit in using reusable cloth bags by citizens and lack of controlling tools, which could cause failures to comply with the law, especially by sellers at marketplaces or small shops.

Potential for learning or transfer

The transfer of the practice is the effect of the Directive (EU) 2015/720 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2015 amending Directive 94/62/EC as regards reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags. It requires EU Member States to adopt instruments to ensure that disposable plastic bags are not offered for free. It is foreseen that the adoption of the solution of implementing a fee for 15-50 μm thick plastic bags will cause a decrease of plastic bags’ consumption of 30 % in the first year. It has a good influence of environmental protection too. The plastic bags are hazardous waste for living organisms and cause a pollution of environment, especially oceans. Moreover, a decomposition of plastic bags take a very long time - that is why it is neccesary to implement such instrument, which helps to minimize this kind of waste. The practice could also promote a good habit in the use of reusable bags for products.

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Main institution
Marshal Office of the Malopolska region
Małopolskie, Poland (Polska)
Start Date
January 2018
End Date


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