Eco-tax on plastic bags in Romania
Topic of the practice
Waste prevention - Reducing the quantity of plastic bags distributed to consumers
Good Practice Information
The eco-tax functions by imposing a 0,2 RON (0.04 Euro) tax on bags made from non-biodegradable materials that are introduced on the market. The producer has to pay this sum for every bag introduced on the market, regardless of its size or quality. What matters is whether or not the bag is made from biodegradable materials.The economic operators that have to pay this tax are: producers (for bags produced in Romania), importers (for bags supplied by producers from third countries), natural or legal authorized Romanian persons (for bags supplied by producers from other EU Member States).
The biodegradable character of the materials is established through an evaluation regulated through Law no. 608/2001 regarding the conformity of products. The evaluation is done according to the applicable standards – international standards, Romanian standards or national standards of the EU Members states.
Furthermore, even though this tax is paid by producers, not by retail stores or directly by consumers, retailers have the legal obligation to inform consumers about this tax and about the bio-degradable or non-biodegradable character of the bags.The economic logic behind this mechanism is that producers will pass on a part or the entire cost of the eco-tax to consumers by increasing the price of plastic bags. Then, consumers will be reluctant to pay extra for the bags that they used to get for free and this will reduce the consumption of this type of goods. In other words, consumers are “stimulated” though this
tax to bring their own bags or use biodegradable ones (although these are not for free either).
Evidence of success
In 2009, the authorities collected 5.481.235,74 RON (approximately 1.285.750 euro) from the eco-tax on bags. The quantity of plastic bags sold was of approximately 27 million bags.
In 2010, the authorities collected 10.358.767,19 RON (approximately 2.430.254 euro) from the eco-tax and the quantity sold more than doubled, reaching 60 million bags.
It is easily noticeable that the expected effects in the absolute reduction of consumption have not appeared, since the quantity increased in 2010, despite de economic crisis and the extra money that people had to pay for the bags. However, according to economic theory, the plastic bag producers have experienced a relative reduction in the quantities they sold –in the absence of the tax the number of plastic bags sold would have been higher
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Annex completed on: 04-11-2012