Turkey: In 2019, free bag ban made plastic use plummet

Since Turkey banned the handing out of most free plastic bags nearly a year ago, usage of the bags has fallen by over three-fourths, according to government data.

With usage dropping 77.27%, some 150,000 tons of plastic have been saved over the last 11 months, said Environment and Urbanization Ministry officials.

Worldwide, 5 trillion plastic bags are used annually, including 35 billion in Turkey, or nearly 35 bags per person per month, before the policy change last Jan. 1, said the data.

Most plastic bags are now sold for 0.25 Turkish liras ($0.05), including 0.15 liras ($0.03) which goes for environmental projects.

Several EU countries -- including the U.K., France, the Netherlands and Sweden -- have adopted similar policies.

Thanks to the policy change, some 6,000 tons of greenhouse gas emission have been prevented over the last 11 months, said the ministry.

Markets and manufacturers were also fined 120,000 liras (over $20,500) for violating the law.

Turkey also has a zero-waste project, led by Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan, to reduce the volume of non-recyclable waste.

Source: Anadolu Agency