String bags back in fashion in Turkey amid plastic bag charge

String bags back in fashion in Turkey amid plastic bag charge

String bags back in fashion in Turkey amid plastic bag charge

Demand for string grocery bags increased by 154 percent in December 2018 compared to the same month of 2017, according to data provided by, a popular e-commerce platform in Turkey.

In a statement, the company stressed the importance of using the string bags for environmental reasons.

Sold in different colors, the classic string bags were mostly demanded in the country’s largest province Istanbul, followed by the capital city of Ankara, the Aegean provinces of İzmir and Muğla, the southern province of Antalya and the northwestern provinces of Bursa, Kocaeli and Balıkesir, said.

Under a new government regulation introduced on Jan. 1, grocery stores in Turkey are obligated to charge customers 25 kuruş — 0.25 Turkish Liras — for a single plastic bag, prompting the surge in the demand for these vintage bags.

If authorities determine that a store is giving plastic bags to customers free of charge, the store will be fined 10 Turkish Liras ($1.85) per each square meter of their property.

Citizens are now looking for alternative, budget-friendly options.

Another change that the implementation has brought is a spike for the demand for bin bags.

“Before, people were collecting plastic bags from grocery stores to use as garbage bags. Now, they are using actual bin bags because the amount of plastic bags they can get decreased,” a tradesman selling garbage bags told daily Hürriyet.

“Our sales have increased. We started receiving orders from supermarkets. Even some citizens came to us individually and made purchases,” he added.

The Environment and Urbanization Ministry had previously announced that 440 plastic bags per person every year were being used in Turkey. The regulation on plastic bags aims to reduce pollution.