Today, Bulgarians use an estimated 1.2 billion plastic bags annually. In addition to helping control environmental pollution created by the traditional production of plastic bags, this tax creates a large new market for bioplastic alternatives.
Chairman and CEO of Cereplast, Frederic Scheer, is quoted as saying: "Bulgaria is the next opportunity for bioplastics and for Cereplast. We are well-poised to take advantage of this new demand for our bioplastic resin."
Bulgaria's eco tax on plastic bags is progressive, with high increases scheduled over the next few years. The tax became effective on Oct. 1, 2011 and requires producers and importers of traditional plastic bags to pay a tax for each bag sold with a thickness of up to 15 microns. The tax for 2011 is BGN 0.15, which is approximately $0.10. The tax increases to BGN 0.35 ($0.23) in 2012, BGN 0.45 ($.30) in 2013, and BGN 0.55 ($0.37) in 2014.
With taxes this high, Bulgaria is, in essence, banning plastic bags. Cereplast anticipates similar demand for their bioplastic resins from the Bulgarian plastic bag tax as they have had as a result of the plastic bag ban in Italy.