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EU states agree to reduce consumption of lightweight plastic bags by 2025

Representatives of European Union (EU) member states agreed on November 21 to a deal to reduce consumption of lightweight plastic bags to 40 bags per person, per year by 2025.


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November 26, 2014 by Canadian Plastics

Representatives of European Union (EU) member states agreed on November 21 to a deal to reduce consumption of lightweight plastic bags to 40 bags per person, per year by 2025.

 

According to the terms of the agreement, which is obligatory in all EU countries, national governments will have to either reduce average lightweight plastic bags consumption to 90 bags per person per year by 2019 and 40 by 2025 or ensure that, by 2018, all bags are charged for.

 

Average consumption of single-use plastic bags in the EU was found to be at 176 bags per person per year in 2010.

 

The law will apply only to bags with a thickness below 0.05mm, because they are less reusable, and turn into waste more quickly. “This is a historic moment for all of Europe. For the first time ever, we have agreed on ambitious measures to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment,” said Margrete Auken, a Danish MEP from the Greens/EFA group, who negotiated the law on behalf of the European Parliament. 

 

Under the new law, member states can also introduce a complete ban on plastic bags at their own discretion.

 

But some industry voices warned that such rules will have a negative impact on trade in Europe’s internal market by limiting the export-import possibilities of goods. “[The law also] opens the door for member states to ban not only plastic bags but other types of packaging,” PlasticsEurope, the association of plastics manufacturers, said in a statement. “Such an inconsistent political framework […] would hinder investments and innovation and would create barriers to trade in packaged goods in Europe.”

 

The bill will now be formally adopted by the EU Council in December, and will be subject to a final vote in Parliament in early 2015.