The ten biggest hypermarket chains in Poland will save PLN 100 million annually thanks to the withdrawal of plastic bags. Moreover, they will profit from selling green bags, although they claim that the price does not include a profit margin. Even before the civic bill which paved the way for the banning of plastic bags in supermarkets came into force, hypermarket chains started to withdraw them under the pretext of environmental protection. The new ecobags biodegradable faster than the plastic. However, this is also an excellent opportunity not only to cut costs, but also to gain additional profits from the sale of ecobags. “Big chains can make at least PLN 500,000 a month through the sale of these bags,” says Artur Całka, chairperson of the Coalition for Ecobags. In the Biedronka chain alone there are 2 million transactions every day during which the chain gave its customers 4–5 million plastic bags paying for them wholesale PLN 0.2–0.3. According to estimates, each hypermarket chain that stops distributing plastic bags may save at least PLN 15 million a year. While shopping in supermarkets, Polish people are handed over 11 billion plastic bags every year, but now they will have to pay for ecobags themselves.
The chains will not only save, but also earn money from the sale of ecobags. In June, plastic bags were withdrawn from Carrefour and Biedronka, and previously from Ikea and Leclerc. Tesco also supports the idea of ecobags, however, it will not withdraw plastic bags and replace them with ecobags. In Biedronka, customers have to pay from PLN 0.7 to several zloty for ecobags, whereas in Carrefour, the cheapest bag costs PLN 0.6. The latter chain claims that it does not make money from the sale of ecobags and is the only chain on the market that sells biodegradable plastic bags, which have to be imported. Biedronka and Ikea claim likewise. However, Polish law prohibits the sale of anything without a profit margin, so supermarket chains make at least PLN 0.2-0.3 on the cheapest bags. In Poland money from the sale of these ecobags will go straight into the supermarket tills, whereas in many other countries the allocation of this money is governed by law. In Ireland or France, the price of bags in all chains is the same, and part of the income from their sale goes to environmental funds which finance social campaigns and waste sorting and recycling systems.