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European Commission launches consultation on plastic carrier bag reduction methods, including ban

The European Commission is asking the public for its views on methods to reduce plastic carrier bag waste, including taxation or an EU-level ban.

The web-based consultation asks if disincentives such as charges and taxation would be an effective deterrent, or whether other options such as an outright ban should be considered.

The consultation is also looking for views on the sufficiency of compostability and biodegradability in the EU Packaging Directive, as the Directive does not distinguish between products which biodegrade in natural conditions in the environment, and compostable products which only biodegrade in industrial composting plants.

European Commissioner for the environment Janez Potočnik said: “Fifty years ago, the single-use plastic bag was almost unheard of – now we use them for a few minutes and they pollute our environment for decades. But social attitudes are evolving and there is a widespread desire for change. That’s why we are looking at all the options, including a Europe-wide ban on plastic carrier bags. We need the views of as many people as possible to complement our scientific analyses and help drive policy on this issue, which is suffocating our environment.”

News of plans to consider a possible ban was first reported by MRW in March, when the Commission stated it would be considering a Europe-wide approach to plastic carrier bags, including an outright ban.

The online consultation runs until August and can be accessed here.

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