Starting Tuesday January 1, all retailers in Turkey will begin selling plastic bags for 0.25 Turkish liras ($0.05) each. Meanwhile, South Korea has banned supermarkets and retailers from using disposable plastic bags.
Turkish retailers are set to begin charging for plastic bags in the new year. The move is aimed at reducing the volume of non-recyclable waste that is environmentally-damaging.
Starting Tuesday, all retailers – including online – will begin selling plastic bags for 0.25 Turkish liras ($0.05) each, of which 0.15 Turkish liras will be earmarked for environmental projects.
In Turkey, between 30 billion and 35 billion plastic bags are used annually, representing some 440 plastic bags per person per year, according to the Environment and Urbanization Ministry.
Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade, according to Turkey's Mind Your Waste Foundation.
The foundation says as many as five trillion plastic bags are produced every year worldwide, only 1 percent of which are recycled.
Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan is currently leading Turkey's zero-waste project, which aims to reduce the volume of non-recyclable waste.
South Korea bans plastic bags
Several countries – including the UK, Germany, Tanzania and Botswana – have already adopted similar policies.
The South Korean government also announced it will soon ban disposable plastic bags at supermarkets and other retailers nationwide, Yonhap news agency reported on Monday.
"Stores that violate the ban could face fines of up to 3 million won (around US$2,683). Instead, those shops are required to offer customers recyclable containers, cloth shopping bags or paper bags," Yonhap reported.
Some countries have also banned the use of certain types of single-use plastic items, such as cutlery, bags and bottles.