Armenia will ban the use plastic bags beginning in 2022 in an effort curtail pollution. The ban is expected to cut 12 tons of plastic bag in circulation annually.
Lusine Avetisyan, the Director for Strategic Policy at the Environmental Protection Ministry said at a news conference that they are working with plastic bag manufacturers ahead of the ban’s start.
“Before the law was adopted we worked for a very long time with the businesses. They were the first group we worked with. We gave them 2 to 3 years to re-organize their production and find alternative solutions. I have to say that there are complaints in many cases, which is expected,” she said.
Avetisyan cited pollution caused by plastic bags, stressing that riverbeds across the country are filled with discarded plastic.
Unitrade International’s founding director Avetis Varosyan presented alternatives to the plastic bags.
“Our company is importing the required raw materials, which is biodegradable and is an alternative solution to both single-use and reusable bags,” Varosyan said. Bags produced by Unitrade are biodegradable, and anyone can simply heat up water and place the bag in it.
In turn, the Innovative Solution for Sustainable Development of Communities, a non-governmental organization, is offering another type of reusable bags as an alternative, offering what the group’s president Mkhitar Avetisyan called the “Loyalty Bag project.”
“We offer reusable bags with unique solutions. After buying the bag, the consumer must download the relevant application. When shopping at the stores which are connected to the system the buyer can accumulate bonus points,” he said, adding that eight businesses have already signed on to become part of the project.
The government policy aims to cut the volume of overall plastic, and not cleaning or reprocessing. The plastic bag ban is a part of a wider project, and soon other plastic products will also be discussed.