New Tax on Plastic Bags in Sweden

shopping bag

writer icon Vera P. Jensen     Hans Braxmeier   |   Sustainability     🕐 21. Jun. 2019

Sweden could see a sharp increase in the price of plastic grocery bags, starting as early as next year.

Swedish news channel TV4 reports that due to a new tax proposal on plastic in the Nordic country, plastic grocery bags may come to cost up to 7 Swedish kronor (SEK) per bag. That is the equivalent of around 66 Euro cents, or 75 U.S. cents.

Plastic Tax
A ‘plastic tax’ is being introduced for the purpose of reducing plastic bag waste. Supermarkets and grocery stores in Sweden already charge for grocery bags, both plastic and paper, but now an additional SEK 3 will be added to all plastic grocery bag prices due to the tax.

The tax will not apply to freezer and garbage bags, but thin plastic bags such as those commonly used when shopping for vegetables and fruit will be taxed, albeit at a lower rate of 30 Swedish öre, per bag.

Results and expectations
Per Bolund, who is Minister for Financial Markets and Housing and Deputy Minister for Finance in Sweden for the Swedish Green Party, had this to say to TV4 about the proposed plastic tax:

"We think that we [as people] are affected by these types of fiscal instruments, and it makes people perhaps think again about whether they need a plastic bag or if there are other ways of transporting your goods home.”

Adding that part of the reason for introducing the tax is that “much of the plastic we used unfortunately ends up in nature and pollutes our oceans...this is something we cannot accept for the [our] future.”

To try to reduce the spead of microplastics in nature, the primary goal is to slash the current number of plastic grocery bags down to a maximum of 40 bags per person per year. In addition, the plastic tax is  expected to bring in SEK 2.9 billion to the state coffers. 

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