TBILISI -- Shops across Georgia have cleared their shelves of plastic bags after a government decree in the former Soviet republic took effect.
According to the decree, signed on September 14 and effective as of October 1, only biodegradable and compostable bags are now legal in the Caucasus country.
All bags must now clearly carry inscriptions proving they are biodegradable and compostable, with details of its composition, thickness, and its manufacturer.
Any violation of the regulations can be punished by a fine of 500 laris ($190) for first-time offenders, and 1,000 laris ($380) for repeat violations.
Salome Sulaberidze, a representative of the Caucasus Environmental Organizations Network, told RFE/RL that a regular plastic bag takes up to 450 years to degrade in the environment.