Swedish Court: Tax Applies to Biodegradable, Reusable Bags that Look Like Plastic Bags

Male holding a plastic bag of vegetables
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A Swedish court has ruled that a non-plastic, biodegradable, reusable bag will still be subject to a tax on plastic bags because it looks too much like real plastic.

The plastic-free carrier was invented by the Swedish company Gaia, based in Helsingborg, and is made of a patented biodegradable material called Biodolomer. The company had previously partnered with the European Union’s environment programme LIFE to create the product.

Since last year, Sweden has implemented a tax on plastic bags, but reusable long-term bags are exempt.

While the Gaia bag is biodegradable and the Swedish state research institute RISE approved it for at least 50 uses, the Swedish tax tribunal determined that it should be subject to the plastic bag tax because it looks like “typical plastic bags”, therefore allegedly making it not intended for long-term use, business magazine Tidningen Näringslivet reports.

“The EU has spent tens of millions for our development of Biodolomer. It is strange when the EU gives funds for us to develop an environmentally friendly product that is then penalised in Sweden,” Åke Rosén, the founder of Gaia, told the magazine.

Rosén and Gaia appealed the January decision to the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court, which recently ruled that it agreed with the initial tribunal ruling.

“If we had been exempt from the tax, we would have expanded production in Helsingborg and employed an additional 20 to 30 people. But now we will have to move this production abroad,” Rosén said.

The home country of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, Sweden is well-known across the world for pro-environmental stances.

Last year, the Swedish supermarket chain Coop announced that it would be creating “sustainability” labels for products so consumers can track the climate impact of the products they buy. Just months before, a Swedish professor called on people to adopt more “climate-friendly” pets like goats instead of cats and dogs.

The Swedish public seems sceptical about the government’s environmental agenda, however, voting climate change spending the largest waste of taxpayer money in 2019.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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