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Published by UNDP Cambodia, 2019-12-12 22:22:59

Combating Plastic Bag use in Cambodia

Disclaimer: This is an independent report and does not reflect the views of the Royal Government of Cambodia.




Single-use plastic bags are an intricate part of daily life for most Cambodians. They are affordable, lightweight,
and provide tremendous utility to users. However, single-use plastic bags cause severe environmental damage,
as they take hundreds of years to decompose, damage urban drainage systems, increase the risk of flooding, and
harm marine life. Sub Decree 168 seeks to reduce plastic bag waste in Cambodia. This paper analyzes
regulations on plastic bags in other countries and municipalities, reviews how generated tax revenue is utilized, and offers
suggestions for enhancing implementation of Sub Decree 168.


Over 127 countries have enacted some sort of plastic bag regulation. For this report, 10 regulations were reviewed, and key
lessons learned were identified. Typically, governments have leveraged two types of regulations to reduce plastic bag waste.
One regulation is to ban the import and sale of plastic bags throughout the country, while the second imposes a tax or levy on
plastic bags at different levels of the supply chain (supplier, retailer, or consumer).
Some key insights and lessons learned include:

• Bans are effective but less so when there are no affordable or convenient alternatives.
• Bans may adversely impact poor communities, who rely on low-cost goods, such as plastic bags.
• Black markets for plastic bags have emerged in countries where complete bans are in effect and affordable alternatives

have not been provided.
• Fees on plastic-bag-use proved effective at reducing use, but results varied depending on price of fee, enforcement, and

• Enacting a fee must be followed up with effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. Without such

mechanisms, plastic bag use may increase.
• Governments have had mixed results when using tax revenue for effective environmental programs.


There are four main areas where consumer plastic bag levies have been directed:
1. A specific environmental initiative, such as a river clean up.
2. To support the collection and enforcement of the consumer levy.
3. A general environmental fund to support initiatives, as the government sees fit.
4. Back to the retailer with no specified use required; however, some governments have encouraged private sector charity
donations to environmental initiatives.


Plastic bag alternatives are readily available in Cambodia; however, single-use plastic bags are the cheapest option. Cleanbodia,
a local company, sells biodegradable bags made from cassava and they closely resemble plastic. Reusable alternatives made
from cotton, jute or recycled plastic are also available.


• Increase awareness regarding the negative impacts of plastic bags.
• Promote the use of reusable bags, specifically by encouraging consumers to bring their own reusable bag when

• Promote the use of reusable bags and offer guidance on where to purchase the bags.
• Meet with supermarkets and mini-mart owners to remind businesses of the Sub Decree and explain why it’s important.
• Require bi-annual or annual impact reports from large supermarket chains.
• “Spot check” supermarkets to ensure their compliance.

Levy Use
• Provide guidance to supermarkets on re-investment opportunities for eco-friendly initiatives and products.


Similar to other Southeast Asian countries, single-use plastic bags are a staple for day-to-day life in Cambodia.
They are widely distributed in major supermarkets, local markets, and independent businesses throughout the
country. Affordable, convenient, lightweight, and relatively durable, plastic bags are a difficult commodity to
replace. However, plastic carrier bags are severely detrimental to the environment. They take hundreds of years
to decompose, they wreak havoc on urban drainage systems, cause severe flooding, and they pose serious
threats to human and animal health.

In Cambodia, the manufacturing and import of plastic bags is authorized only with permits granted by the
Ministry of Environment. These permits require plastic bags to meet a minimum threshold thickness of 30
microns. Single-use plastic bags are largely imported from neighbouring countries and distributed to local

Currently, there are no formal regulations banning the use of plastic bags, or the imposition of market-based
instruments creating economic incentives for the reduction in plastic bag use by consumers. Instead, the onus is
placed on retailers to provide single-use plastic bags for a fee, and on the consumer to opt for reusable bags.
Regarding the bag fee, there are uniformity issues at play, as some supermarkets in Cambodia charge fees while
most local markets do not. The fee charged for bags also varies from retailer to retailer, and from area to area.

While reusable bags are available at some supermarkets and niche, eco-friendly markets, the reusable bag trend
has not caught the attention of most Cambodians. Prices of Cambodian-made reusable bags vary anywhere from
US$1-18, making them inaccessible for some locals, especially when plastic bags have been given out for free.
In addition, the manufacturing and imports of single-use bags and packaging made from biodegradable
substances receive preferential tax rates. However, without adequate infrastructure and waste management
systems in place to ensure proper disposal of biodegradable materials, these alternatives can contribute to
swelling landfills, rather than address the root cause of the problem.

Sub Decree 168 and its Implementation

In late 2017, the Royal Cambodian Government issued a Sub Decree on the management of plastic bags. In
addition to thickness requirements for plastic bags, the policy stated that all supermarkets and commercial
centers are required to charge consumers 400 Riel (US$0.10) per plastic bag. This rule went into effect on April
10, 2018. Supermarkets are able to keep the revenue collected from the plastic bag levy, are not required to use
these funds for any specific program, and are not required to provide updated information on the
implementation of Sub Decree 168.

Thus far no research has been conducted on the effectiveness of the new levy that has been placed on
supermarkets and commercial centers. For this report, semi-structured interviews were conducted with six
different supermarkets in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Out of the six supermarkets interviewed, four were effectively implementing the plastic bag levy required by
Sub Decree 168 while two supermarkets were still giving away many plastic bags for free. One possible reason
for this is that the larger supermarkets have more staff to implement the new regulation. No supermarkets
reported any strong enforcement from government workers following up to see how the Sub Decree has been

Even though this rule has been in place for over a year many customers remain unaware of the regulation and
continue to be frustrated when told they need to purchase plastic bags. There have been no major marketing
campaigns increasing awareness surrounding the rule. Customers believe that the rule is supermarket policy and
not from the government. Messaging around the law within supermarkets vary. Some supermarkets have no s


signs at check-out registers informing customers of the rule, while others have signs at every check-out counter.
Messaging is one of the biggest opportunities for supermarkets and the government to work together to help
reduce plastic bag use in Cambodia without adding new regulations.

Three supermarkets were able to provide data on how well Sub Decree 168 was at decreasing plastic bag use.
They indicated up to a 50% reduction in plastic bag use based on how many plastic bags the supermarket
purchased before and after the regulation was put in place. Other supermarkets were unable to provide any data
as they were not required to track this information. This regulation has also led to supermarkets reducing the
number of plastic bag sizes they carry. Before they used to carry several different sizes of plastic bags offering
small bags when only a few items were purchased and large bags when a lot of items were purchased. Now
several supermarkets only carry large bags, so customers get the most for their $.10. Although unlikely this may
lead customers who only purchase a few items to use a large plastic bag when before they would use a small
one leading to greater plastic usage.

Several supermarkets have developed a reusable bag with their logo since Sub Decree 168 has been in place.
The materials the bags are made from vary but are usually either non-woven polypropylene, canvas, or recycled
PET. One supermarket does not sell them but instead gives them to frequent customers. Others sell the reusable
bags for $.80- $1.

Key insights of market research on Sub Decree 168
• Three supermarkets indicated up to 50% reduction in plastic bag use since the implementation of Sub

Decree 168.
• Larger supermarket chains were able to fully implement Sub Decree 168, while some smaller chains were

• Many customers remain unaware of the regulation and think it is supermarket policy.
• Only one supermarket has used the revenue generated from the fee to support an environmental program.


Plastic bag policies have spread around the world, especially in Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia. Health and
safety concerns, anti-pollution incentives, environmental concerns, and marine-related pollution have all been
cited as factors provoking such regulations. In total, 127 countries have passed national legislation to ban or
reduce the use of plastic bags.1 A few examples of policies in place to curb single-use plastic bag consumption
were chosen for a more in-depth analysis.


Regulatory Instruments
• Ban - prohibits single-use plastic, can be a total or partial ban.

Economic Instruments
• Levy on suppliers – levy paid by suppliers of plastic bags, including domestic producers or importers.
Can be effective in encouraging retailers to charge for single-use plastic bags in place of business.
• Levy on retailers – levy to be paid by the retailer when purchasing plastic bag. The retailers are not
obligated to extend tax to consumers.
• Levy on consumers – fee on each bag sold at the point of sale, a standard price is defined by law.


Bans Bans have been successful at reducing plastic bag use but comes with risks.
• Bans are less effective when no affordable or convenient alternatives are available.
• Bans may negatively impact poor communities because they rely on low-cost goods, such as plastic
• bags.
Black markets for plastic bags have emerged in countries where a total ban is in place and no
• alternatives are made available.

Fees Taxes on suppliers of plastic bags were ineffective in reducing plastic bag use, as the end consumer was
• not incentivized to reduce use.
Fees on plastic-bag-use proved effective at reducing use, but results varied depending on the price of the
• fee, enforcement, and messaging.
Fee levels varied across countries and finding the correct fee amount is a challenge
• Enacting a fee must be coupled with effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. Without such
• mechanisms, plastic bag use may increase following initial fee implementation.
Governments have had mixed results when using revenue towards environmental programs.
• Effectiveness has waned pending a variety of factors, including enforcement, monitoring, and
transparency mechanisms.


Cambodia is on par with other countries and municipalities, regarding consumer-based levies on plastic bags.
Most fees analysed range from US $0.05 and $0.10, but there are outliers on either end of the spectrum. For

instance, Ireland has one of the highest fees in place ($0.25). The fee is high, but plastic bag use has fallen
dramatically, and the government has raised more than $200 million from the fee since 2002.

Select Plastic Bag Fee Comparison (USD)


$0.10 $0.05 Ireland $0.10 $0.05 $0.08
Cambodia Washington DC California USA Malaysia South Africa




Consumer Levies have generally funded four main areas:
1. A specific environmental initiative, such as a river clean up.
2. To support the collection and enforcement of the consumer levy.
3. A general environmental fund to support initiatives, as the government sees fit.
4. Back to the retailer with no specified use required; however, some governments have encouraged private
sector charity donations to environmental initiatives.

Countries and municipalities around the world that have enacted consumer levies for plastic bags tend to direct
these funds towards different programs and objectives. Some have provided very specific criteria for the use of
funds, while others have only outlined general goals.

Since 2010, Washington, D.C., has followed a complex and unique system for using revenue garnered from
plastic-bag levies. Consumers that require plastic bags are charged $0.05 per bag, and $0.01 is directed to the
store, while $0.04 is directed to the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund.2 For many years, the
Anacostia River was heavily polluted and became a forgotten and underused part of the city. Rather than pass a
law aimed at the reduction of plastic bag use, Washington D.C. passed the Anacostia River Clean Up and
Protection Act, using a plastic bag fee as a revenue generator. The use of the consumer levy was a motivating
factor behind passing the law, and the main tool in communicating its importance.

Other countries and municipalities have two main uses for the consumer levy. The first use is to support the fee
collection and enforcement, so the regulation pays for the additional labour hours required. The second use is
towards environmental projects that are not specified in the regulation. For example, Ireland has an
Environmental fund which supports remediation projects and awareness raising.3 South Africa aims to use the
fund for supporting recycling purposes within the country. Botswana originally wanted to use the plastic bag
levy to support environmental initiatives, but there was never a mechanism in place for collecting the levy from
retailers. Therefore, retailers either keep the levy themselves or decided not to charge consumers at all.

Finally, there are governments like Cambodia, that do not collect the fee themselves and allow the retailers to
retain the levy. China allows retailers to determine how much they should charge for plastic bags, meaning the
levy is required but the price varies. Voters in California rejected a proposal to create an environmental fund
with the levy.4 Retailers in California can choose the amount of the levy, if it is greater than $.10 and all of it
returns to the retailers. With so many different retailers available, detailed information has not been released
specifying initiatives funded by the fee. No country reviewed requires retailers to use the consumer levy for a
specific use.


In 2008, China imposed a total ban on plastic bags less than 20-25 microns, and a retail distribution levy on all
plastic bags beyond the thickness threshold. The rate of the consumer fee is mandatory but determined by the
retailer. The initial ban on plastic bags proved successful, with plastic bag use dropping by 60 percent within the
first seven years. According to Chinese officials, the ban and levy resulted in a savings of around 40 billion
bags, and approximately 70-80 percent of consumers began using their own shopping bags.

However, while the initial imposition of the ban and levy were a success, China’s policy was further criticized
for lack of oversight and follow-through. The largest barriers include a lack of continued environmental
awareness regarding the implication of plastic use and the further desensitisation to the relatively cheap price of
plastic bags. 5


It was found that 42 percent of supermarkets surveyed were not complying with policy standards regarding
recyclability and bag thickness.6 China Development Brief, an independent information platform for civil
society, confirmed this issue with their own survey, finding that policy compliance continues to be a pervasive
issue in China. According to their data, only 17 percent were found complying with fee regulations and most
were large supermarkets. Of that 17 percent, only 9.1 percent were meeting the standards outlined in the policy
and only 3.7 percent were able to achieve all three plastic bag requirements, which includes the correct display
of bag fees, appropriate thickness, and the fee itself.

To address this issue, biodegradable bags are being considered, but environmental experts in China are
cautioning the use of such bags because they can only biodegrade properly in a compostable environment. Most
end up in landfills where biodegrading is not easy, if not impossible.

Key insights from regulation in China:
• Lack of oversight and enforcement rendered fee less effective over time
• Significant portion of supermarkets (42 percent) were not complying with policy standards, reduction in
plastic bag use waned as a result.
• No determined purpose for tax revenue generated

Plastic bag policies range throughout various provinces and municipalities in India, but generic regulations
concerning plastic bags include a thickness threshold of 50 microns, unless the bag is made from compostable
material. India has also imposed taxation policies on the manufacturing and importing of plastic bags. Most
policies include Extended Producer Responsibility agreements (EPR), which places economic and management
responsibilities of post-consumer waste on the producer. Finally, India maintains legally binding policies
requiring the recycling of plastic bags. 7

Examples of regional state bans include the Indian state of Maharashtra, which banned the production, usage,
distribution, sale, storage, and import of plastic bags. Fines include $68 USD price tag for first time offenders,
and doubles with sequential offenses. Third offenses result in $340 USD fine and possible imprisonment.

In 2018, the state of Bihar introduced a complete ban on the production, import, storage, distribution,
transportation, sale, and usage of plastic carrier bags, despite size or thickness. A complete prohibition is in
effect for shopkeepers, vendors, wholesalers, retailers, traders, and hawkers. There is an exemption for plastic
bags above 50 microns, but only for the collection, storage, and disposal of biomedical waste. The penalty for
failing to comply includes a nearly $1,500 fine and potential imprisonment of up to five years.

Key insights from regulation in India:
• Sub-national governments have the capacity to become leaders in plastic regulation, but lack of federal
cohesiveness may cause confusion.
• Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) encourages reduction in single-use plastic bags at the
production level.
• Legally binding policies around recycling are in effect.
• Financial repercussions are effective, but directly impact poor communities.

South Africa
In 2003, South Africa imposed a complete ban on all thin, single-use plastic bags less than 24 microns, and a
plastic bag levy for bags thicker than 24microns. This hefty policy was intended to encourage the reuse of
thicker plastic bags, rather than the typical disposal of thinner bags.


Additionally, a fixed price of R46 ($0.031) per plastic bag was set, which later increased to R50 ($0.033).
Immediately following the levy charge, the use of plastic bags fell by 90 percent. However, prices have
fluctuated over time and across retailers (depending on the cost of bags, and pressure from the industry to
reduce prices). Most people did not reuse plastic bags, as intended by the policy, but would buy new bags every
time they visited super markets. Overall, in the 10 years since the levy was introduced, the fall in consumption
of plastic bags is approximately 44 percent.

Problematically, most of the levies collected are not directed towards legitimate recycling efforts. A non-profit
recycling company is technically supposed to receive the funding collected from levies, however; only about 13
percent of profits are reaching the intended end-user. This issue highlights the need for increased transparency
and communication between government, retailers, and the designated recycling company.

In addition, consumers eventually became accustomed to the levy, gradually increasing the number of bags
purchased in sequential years after policy implementation. Therefore, price elasticity remains low due to
relatively affordable fees, continued consumer ignorance, and the availability of legitimate alternatives (i.e.
cloth/paper bags).

Overall, there was a massive decrease in demand when the ban and levy were first introduced, but over time the
effectiveness of the policy waned. This contrast may be attributed to a lack of advocacy and education on the

The price of plastic bags was increased again in 2016, to R1.2 ($0.08). According to statistics by the South
African Revenue Service (SARS), there was an increase in revenue to R242 million from plastic bags in 2017-
2018, but the actual number of plastic bags sold dropped substantially.8 In other words, researchers believe that
incrementally increasing the price of plastic bags will deter consumers from purchasing single-use bags.9

Key insights from regulation in South Africa:
• Revenue generated from the levy was meant to fund recycling efforts, but a lack of communication and
enforcement meant only 13 percent of revenue went to its intended use.
• Incremental increases in the plastic bag levy seen as a positive deterrence.
• Effectiveness of policy waned over time, which may be attributed to a lack of advocacy and education
on the subject.

Rwanda’s case coupled a strict ban on plastic bags with forceful sanctions against those who defied the ban.
The government first imposed a ban on the import and use of plastic bags in 2004, based on environmental
concerns. Their main concern was to target bags under 100 microns. Taking a tough approach, a $150 fine for
carrying plastic bags, and up to a one-year prison sentence for store owners selling plastic bags, was
implemented. These strict regulations had several unintended consequences, including the growth of a black
market for plastic bags. The black market was primarily fueled by imports from neighbouring countries.

In addition, the ban on plastic bags negatively affected the production cost of manufacturing companies, as
plastic items used for packaging were banned from use. Local manufacturers were also threatened, as their
executives could face up to a year in prison if plastic packaging was used for manufacturing purposes. Thus,
local manufacturing companies further criticized the government for failing to provide subsidies and support to
ensure the production of plastic bag alternatives was feasible. Thus, it is essential to pay attention to a state’s
capacity for policy implementation, the availability of alternatives, the accessibility of plastic bags from
neighbouring countries, and the concerns and reluctance of manufacturers and trade unions to stop producing
plastic bags.


Key insights from regulation in Rwanda:
• Local businesses and residents, who rely on plastic bags, were negatively impacted by the ban due to
increased black market costs and hefty fines.

• Growth of a black market for plastic bags was fueled by imports from neighboring countries.
• It is essential to assess a state’s capacity for policy implementation, the availability of alternatives, the

accessibility of plastic bags from neighbouring countries, and the concerns of manufacturers and trade

A study conducted in rural Bali, Indonesia, found that eco-bags are an efficient alternative to plastic bags. The
study tested three intervention tactics to assess the effectiveness of reusable bags and found each intervention to
be effective in some capacity. The study does not consider direct monetary incentives (fees for bags) but does
acknowledge that all three interventions tend to be more effective when coupled with a tax or levy. 10

The three interventions were broken down by social norms, indirect monetary incentives, and authority
endorsement. Social norms consisted mostly of educating shop owners and customers on the effects of plastic in
the environment; monetary incentives focused on the economic benefits of encouraging reusable bag use over
plastic bags, and the authority endorsement intervention utilized village chiefs as a communication tool for
promoting an eco-friendly environment. Indonesia, like Cambodia, is a hierarchal culture, which is why it is not
surprising to learn that the authority endorsement intervention was highly successful in reducing plastic bag use,
more so than promoting social norms. We should consider this intervention when structuring policy for

It is also important to note that individuals with higher levels of education and religious affiliations were more
eager to participate in the program. Indirect monetary incentives were more effective than promoting social
norms, but authority endorsements were more effective than indirect monetary incentives. Point being, people
care more about authority and money, than their moral obligation to save the planet.

Lastly, an eco-bag consignment option was presented and was relatively successful. It promoted a sense of
financial independence for shop owners and could be something to consider in Cambodia.

Key insights from regulation in Indonesia:
• Messaging initiatives that involved local leaders, who promoted eco-friendly lifestyle choices, were
highly successful.
• Instead of enforcing a fee, messaging that promoted the personal economic benefits of using a reusable
bag were successful.
• Individuals with high levels of education and religious affiliations were more receptive to the program.

United Kingdom

Plastic consumption is a global epidemic, and many environmentalists and economists are turning their
attention to a circular economic model to solve the problem. However, it is important to remember that a
transition from an “extended product life” approach will require a fundamental restructuring of consumer and
capitalist culture.

The U.K. provides a solid use case for analysis, specifically in the challenges obstructing development of a
circular economy.11 Although this case study presents a Western perspective, the lessons learned, and the
barriers discovered, can be applied to the Cambodian context.


Trade relationships are important to consider when developing waste management policy, as a circular economy
dictates the need for revised policies on the import and export of plastic. Moreover, a circular economy requires
waste management in the location of waste generation. Therefore, waste trade in and around the EU is
problematic. Such concerns are easily transferred to the Cambodian context, considering the nation’s strong
trade ties to neighbouring countries, such as Vietnam.

The product life-cycle must be considered. Specifically, our role in, and our incentives around, managing waste
must be examined. A fundamental restructuring is required to promote cyclical movement on the consumer and
producer side, rather than simply sorting waste and shipping/selling resources to the private sector.
Restructuring will be extremely difficult, seeing as waste in the private sector is profitable.

Even consumer incentivisation is centred around diversion (recycling), rather than reuse. We must ask ourselves
how it will be possible to change our psychological understanding of how we view waste. Long-standing
contracts with private waste management companies in the UK also discourage exploration of, and movement
towards, a circular economy. Here in Cambodia, privatisation in the waste management sector will be a massive
hurdle to overcome.

Quality of waste is also a necessity for re-manufacturing, as making cheap plastic bags is contradictory to the
requirements of a circular economy. In our current setting, diversion targets from the consumer and capital
investment needs from the private sector, means that the amount of waste collected is more valuable than the
quality of the resources. Here in Cambodia, the situation is even more complicated because appropriate waste
management infrastructure has not been established. With that being said, it is important to remember that
without an effective composting system, waste management in a circular economy cannot exist. Cambodia will
struggle in this respect.


Biodegradable bags and paper bags are available in Cambodia. However, the lack of composting infrastructure
will divert biodegradable bags to landfills. Mixed in with non-composting waste, such bags cannot properly
biodegrade in a landfill. Regarding paper bags, curbing consumption of plastic will lead to over consumption of
a finite resource.

As mentioned in this report, it is important to promote the consistent reuse of quality bags. However, consistent
use of reusable bags will require a drastic lifestyle change for Cambodians. In this respect, the use of
biodegradable bags is a viable, albeit short-term solution. Cleanbodia provides single-use, biodegradable carrier
bags at a $6 price tag for 200 bags. It should be noted that the cost of such bags will likely trickle down to the
consumer, as store owners will increase the cost of single-use bags. Although a nuisance for customers, the
increased price will likely encourage the use of reusable bags.


Without making alternations to Sub Decree 168, or issuing new regulations, Cambodia still has several options
for enhancing current regulations. These options generally fall into one of three categories, including
messaging, enforcement, and levy use.

• Remind citizens, residents, and visitors of Sub Decree 168, so they are aware of their responsibilities.
• Increase awareness regarding the negative impacts of plastic bags.
• Promote the use of reusable bags and offer guidance on where to purchase the bags.


• Meet with supermarkets and mini-mart owners to remind them of the Sub Decree.
• Require bi-annual or annual impact reports from large supermarket chains.
• “Spot check” supermarkets to ensure their compliance.

Levy Use
• Provide guidance to supermarkets on how they should use tax revenue garnered from the levy. Potential
options include:
o Subsidize the cost of reusable bags for sale at checkout counter.
o Develop marketing campaign offering ways to reduce plastic use.
o Increase the number of plastic alternatives in their supply chain.



Country Policy Type Effect/Reduction Details
Rwanda Ban *Difficult to assess. 2008 – banned the use of plastic bags thinner than
South Africa 100 microns, but such strict restrictions have allowed
Partial Ban & Initially 90% a ‘black market’ for plastic bags to emerge.
Botswana Levy reduction, after an 2003 – thin bags banned, and a charge for thicker
increase in sales plastic bags imposed. Revenue from the levy is
Burkina Faso Partial Ban & down to 44% meant to fund environmental projects and recycling.
China Levy reduction Retailers charge consumers varying prices near
50% reduction R0.50.
India 2007 – plastic bag levy on retailers introduced, but
Ban *Difficult to assess. amount paid varies across retailers. Intent of the
Bangladesh revenue to go towards environmental issues. 86.7%
Vietnam Partial ban & fee 60% reduction of respondents claim they were aware of the levy but
Ireland (initially) that it had little effect on their consumption.
Washington Regulations insufficient to change behavioural habits,
DC Levies, bans, *Effect should be price of bags was set too low. Retailers have also
campaigns all assessed based on treated the levy as part of their profits, mostly
varying by region, considering because the government has no mechanism to claim
region/local diverse levies paid by consumer from the retailers.
communities implementation. 2007- Ban on the production, import, marketing and
Ban *Difficult to assess. distribution of plastic bags
2008 – complete ban on free plastic bags less than 20
Levy *Difficult to assess. microns, retail distribution levy determined by the
retailer. Within the first seven years, plastic bag use
Levy 90% reduction dropped by 60%. Overtime, lack of environmental
awareness and desensitization to the relatively cheap
Levy 40% reduction price of bags, as compliance with the ban has
Policies range across the nation, but a general
thickness requirement of 50 microns. Some forms of
local measures include pricing mechanisms/levies,
recycling laws, campaigns and bans.

2002- initially positive response, however use of
plastic bags has increased due to desensitization to
2012 – levy imposed on retailers at $1.76 USD per
kilogram, however the levy has been largely
2002- levy introduced of 15 Euro cent tax on single-
use plastic bags, responses from stakeholders, public
and retail industry have been positive thanks to
extensive consultation with stakeholders.
Law was passed with messaging more focused on the
uses for the levy rather than the benefits of having
plastic bag use reduced



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