A draft law was submitted to parliament proposing the ban of free plastic bags in supermarkets this week. The regulation is planned to be effective as of Jan. 1, 2019.
AKP Deputy Chair Mehmet Muş made a press statement regarding the draft law. He said plastic bags used for packaging in supermarkets would be sold for 25 kuruş (1 Turkish Lira is equal to 100 kuruş).
However, he emphasized the ban on free plastic bags would only be valid for those with a thickness ranging from 15-50 microns, as this is the standard thickness of grocery bags. Any plastic bag with a thickness greater or less than this range will continue to be free of charge.
Muş added that the relevant regulation seeks to decrease the use of customary plastic bags at supermarkets to 90 per person annually by the end of 2019 and to 40 by the end of 2025. Currently every Turkish citizen uses an average of 440 plastic bags per year.
The draft law not only includes a provision on the use of plastic bags, but also proposes many changes to raise the bar higher in Turkey’s fight against waste management.
In line with this, local administrations will be given more detailed tasks supervising efforts for zero waste. For example, it will be obligatory for at least 20 percent of vehicles in the domestic waste collection fleet in every municipality to be capable of collecting packaging waste.
Minister of Environment and Urban Planning of Turkey Murat Kurum said, “the decision was made due to the need to protect the environment from the great harm caused by plastic bags”.