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4 Cents for Lightweight Plastic Bags

The Government wants to introduce a contribution of 4 cents on light and very light plastic bags in 2024, according to the State Budget proposal (OE) delivered today in the Assembly of the Republic.

“‘Very light plastic bags’ are those purchased in the bulk sale of fresh bakery products, fruit and vegetables,” the proposal says.

The tax covers producers or importers of lightweight plastics, and the “contribution” is “payable, in national territory, at the time of their introduction for consumption.”

In the proposal contained in the State Budget 2024, the executive admits exemption from payment in several matters, but only discloses those that “are used in a social or humanitarian context, namely, in the social distribution of food or in the fight against food waste.”

“The contribution on light and very light plastic bags is a burden on the final purchaser, and the economic agents inserted in the commercial chain must pass on the economic burden of the contribution, to its purchaser, as a price.”

Taxpayers must report to the Tax Authority the “quantities of light and very light plastic bags purchased and distributed in the previous year, which will then be reported to the National Waste Authority”.

The revenues from this contribution revert 50% to the State, 20% to the Environmental Fund – “for preferential application in measures within the scope of the circular economy” – and 20% to the Trade Modernisation Fund – “preferably for the implementation of business sustainability measures, namely new business models” -, with the remaining 10% going to other public institutions.

Producers or importers of lightweight and very light plastic bags “must mark plastic and very light bags with an indication of their compatibility with the different waste management operations, namely recycling, and composting, in order to facilitate their separation and recovery in the sorting and treatment processes.”

In the proposal, it is up to economic operators to promote actions to “raise awareness and encourage final consumers to use alternative means to plastic bags, as well as their reuse” and the “promotion, among final consumers, of practices of selective disposal of plastic bags that cannot be reused, with a view to their recycling.”

Samantha Gannon

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