ATHENS, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Greeks have reduced by about 70 percent the use of plastic carrier bags at supermarkets, bakeries and other sales outlets in January 2018 compared to the same month last year, following the introduction of charges from Jan. 1 this year, according to a local consumer group.
Two in three consumers have already shifted to reusable shopping bags rather than paying for disposable plastics, "Naftemporiki" newspaper reported on Wednesday citing a survey by the Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA).
For each plastic carrier bag used at the counter from the New Year, Greeks pay four euro cents (4.9 U.S. dollar cents) as part of renewed efforts to protect the environment from the hazardous plastics.
All revenues go to the Greek Recycling Agency for environmental programs, while the charge will be increased to 9 euro cents on New Year's Day in 2019.
The aim is to reduce the number of plastic bags used by Greeks which is double than the average in Europe.
In 2015, when a EU directive was ratified aimed at limiting the use per person to 90 bags annually by 2019 and 40 by 2025, Greeks used 242-363 plastic bags per person, Greek Recycling Agency noted.
The number exceeded 400 plastic bags per person in 2016, according to IELKA. More than half come from supermarkets.
As kiosks and open air street markets are exempt from the new regulation, IELKA noted that there is more room to further reduce the use of the plastics.