The Bulgarian government has decided to increase the tax on both locally made and imported plastic bags distributed in the country's retail outlets, according to various reports in the local media.
To date, the Bulgarian ecotax has been imposed on single-use plastic bags with a thickness of up to 15 microns, but with the latest legislation, the country's government is extending the fee to all kinds of plastic carrier bags.
Under the plan, the levy on plastic bags will be increased by a robust 233% from BGN 0.15 (€0.08) to BGN 0.35 (€0.18) starting in October 2012. In 2013, the ecotax will be further increased to BGN 0.45 (€0.23), and in the following year, it will be capped at BGN 0.55 (€0.28).
Local observers say that the latest move is likely to stimulate demand for bioplastic resin in the Bulgarian market, as compostable and biodegradable bags are not subject to the tax.
Following a proposal put forward by the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment in early 2011, the plastic bag tax was introduced in October 2011. The government said it aimed to reduce Bulgaria's plastic carrier bag consumption from its then level of about 1.2 billion units per year and mitigate its negative impact on the environment.