The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia promised in its Work Programme that in the period 2022-2024 a gradual ban on the use of plastic bags in retail in the country will be introduced. The government fulfilled this promise.
On December 1, 2021, the Decision to ban plastic bags on the market in the country went into force. As stated in Article 10 of the Law on the Management of Packaging and Packaging Waste, an exception to this ban on the market are the biodegradable bags for carrying goods, manufactured in accordance to the prescribed biodegradability standards, with the exception of very light plastic bags for carrying goods.
The law stated that the end-users will pay 15 denars per piece to receive biodegradable bags for carrying goods payable on the spot. At the same time, the traders are obliged to keep records on quarterly basis of the number of bags sold at the point of sales, which they submit to the expert authority to conclude the total amount received from the compensation of the sold bags, and then the money is transferred to a special account of the environmental authority.
Otherwise, Law on the Management of Packaging and Packaging Waste, along with five other waste management laws, were adopted by the Assembly of the RNM on September 15, 2021.
On the day when the charge of biodegradable bags at 15 denars per piece was enforced, the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Naser Nuredini said that the purpose of this law was to discourage citizens from using plastic, adding that the use of biodegradable bags was also regulated.
“Microplastics harm the soil and water, and there is a danger that the same can be found in the food and drinking water. The goal of this measure is to protect the health of the citizens and the environment, not to collect money. Manufacturers will be able to continue the production of biodegradable bags until June 2023. The Ministry and the Government proposed 10 denars per bag, while the MPs in the Assembly asked for 20, so the price was sat at 15 denars per bag”, said Nuredini.
A few months later, on September 28, 2022 the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Naser Nuredini informed that from the sales of biodegradable bags more than one million Euros were raised from December 2021 to June 2022. This amount is expected to be doubled by the end of the year.
“The money goes exclusively in a fund of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning which is transparently published and available to all citizens” said Minister Nuredini.
And in the explanation of this law by the Government of the RNM, which was published on December 2, 2021, is stated that after June 1, 2023, selling bags made of biodegradable material (including organic material from water, carbon dioxide and biomass – standard MKS EN ISO 17556: 2020) on the Macedonian market become mandatory.
The Government’s announcement stated that the very light bags for carrying goods were completely banned, i.e., bags with thickness below 15 microns.
Starting from the fact that the Work Programme of the Government for the period of 2020-2024 promised gradual ban of the use of plastic bags in retail shops in the country until 2024, and taking into account everything that has been undertaken by the State, we can conclude that the promise for gradual ban on the use of plastic bags has been fulfilled.
Work Programme of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia in the period of
2020-2024, checked 14.11.2022;
Law on Packaging and Waste Management, checked 14.11.2022;
Web-site of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (28.09.2022): NUREDINI: If we provide the necessary conditions, I am sure that the citizens will select the waste, checked 14.11.2022;
Web-site of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia (2.12.2021): Clarification on the ban on the use of plastic bags, checked 14.11.2022;
Meta.mk (15.09.2021): The Parliament adopted the six laws on waste management required by the EU, checked 14.11.2022;
Meta.mk (1.12.2021): Nuredini: The purpose of the new price of plastic bags is to protect the health of the citizens and the environment, checked 14.11.2022.