Sweden to abolish tax on plastic bags

Sweden is set to scrap a tax on plastic bags, introduced by the former government to reduce the amount of plastic waste in nature, from January 1st.

Sweden to abolish tax on plastic bags
Plastic bags have cost around 3 kronor extra since the tax was introduced in 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Public broadcaster SR was first to report the news that the tax will be scrapped in the right-wing government’s spring budget.

The far-right Sweden Democrats and conservative Moderates have been particularly against the tax, which was introduced in May 2020 and added an extra 3 kronor to the price of plastic shopping bags and an extra 30 öre to thin bags used for fruit and vegetables.

The tax ultimately led to many supermarkets raising the price of plastic carrier bags from around 3 kronor to 7 kronor.

The Moderates’ coalition partners, the Liberals and Christian Democrats, originally voted in favour of the tax, which was proposed by the Liberals, Social Democrats, Greens and Centre Party as part of the 2020 January deal between the four parties at the time.

But just a year later, the Liberals described the tax as “a failure”, arguing that it should instead be aimed at fossil resources.

According to a study carried out by SMED, an agency collecting data on Sweden’s environmental emissions, on behalf of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, 83 percent fewer plastic bags were sold per krona of supermarket profit after the tax was introduced.

The number of paper bags sold increased substantially over the same period.

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Swedish prime minister seeks military help to crack down on gangs

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a televised speech that he would meet with the commander in chief of the military, among others, after a spate of violence that has claimed the lives of a growing number of children and bystanders.

Swedish prime minister seeks military help to crack down on gangs

Kristersson said he would meet on Friday with the national chief of police and commander in chief Micael Bydén “to see how the armed forces can help the police fight the gangs”.

The Scandinavian country has in recent years been in the grip of a bloody conflict between gangs fighting over arms and drug trafficking, which has escalated over vendettas between the gangs.


Apartment buildings and homes across the country are frequently rocked by explosions, and shootings in public places have become regular occurrences in the usually tranquil country.

“We are going to hunt down the gangs. We are going to defeat the gangs,” Kristersson said in a televised address to the nation on Thursday evening, after three people were killed in shootings and explosions overnight on Wednesday.

An 18-year-old man was shot dead at a crowded football pitch early Wednesday evening in a well-off Stockholm suburb, police said.

A second shooting took place around midnight in another Stockholm suburb, injuring two people, one of whom later died, police said, adding that three suspects had been arrested in that case.

Several hours later, an explosion near the university town of Uppsala, 70 kilometres north of Stockholm, damaged five homes and killed a woman in her mid-20s with no known connection to the gangs, according to police.

The surge in killings has shocked Swedes.

“Crime has reached unprecedented levels. The situation is very serious in Uppsala, and in the rest of the country,” Uppsala police official Catarina Bowall told reporters.

According to a tally by Swedish public television SVT, 12 people have been killed in shootings and explosions in September, the deadliest month in terms of fatal shootings in the past four years.

One of the dead was a 13-year-old boy whose body was found dumped in a wooded area. Prosecutors said they believed he was a victim of the gang violence.

“An increasing number of children and completely innocent people are affected by this extreme violence,” Kristersson said.

“Sweden has never seen anything like this. No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this.”

He said serious organised crime had risen over the past decade “due to naiveté”.

“An irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration led us here,” the conservative leader said.

“Swedish legislation was not designed for gang wars and child soldiers. But we’re changing that now,” he said.

He noted new legislation entering into force in the coming days enabling police to wiretap gangs, as well as plans for body searches in some areas, harsher sentences for repeat offenders and double sentences for certain crimes.

“We’ll put them on trial. If they are Swedish citizens they will be locked away with long prison sentences, and if they are foreigners they will be deported,” he said.

“We are going to deport foreigners who move in criminal gang circles even if they haven’t committed a crime,” he said.

He said Sweden also needed to introduce surveillance cameras in public places and build special prisons for teenage criminals.

In 2022, Sweden registered 391 shootings, 62 of which were fatal.