Supermarkets in Italy: 1-cent Surcharge on Produce Bags

1 cent bags

(Jan 2018) – In Italy a new European norm applies a one-cent surcharge on the compostable, biodegradable bags used to collect and weigh fruits and vegetables in the produce section. This does not apply to bags used at the deli counter for cheese or cold cuts; only the fresh fruit and vegetable department.

Above: the sign says “By Law the white compostable bags are no longer free. A total of one cent will be charged at the cashier.”

In most supermarkets, you can choose your produce using a thin plastic glove and the bags provided. You put your fruit and veg in a bag and weigh it on a computerized scale. If you get to the cashier without having weighed your carrots, they will make you go back which will certainly elicit odious hand gestures from everyone waiting behind you.

10 cent bags

Larger biodegradable bags are available to purchase for 10 cents for your groceries. The grocery bags are good enough in a pinch, but easily break and tear- it’s best to have your own canvas shopping bag.

Photo and article by Celia Abernethy

Celia Abernethy

Celia is the founder and managing editor at Originally from New York, she now spends her time between Milan and Lake Como sharing her discoveries and experiences living in Italy. Follow @CeliaAbernethy on Twitter