EU consultation reveals strong public support for a ban on plastic carrier bags

By Joana Mira Veiga, EUCC International Programme

Every year, an average EU citizen consumes approximately 500 plastic carrier bags and most of these are used only once. In 2008, the total amount of plastic carrier bags reached 3.4 million tonnes. Only a limited percentage of these are recycled and due to their low weight they often escape and end up in environment.

The EU launched a public consultation to collect the views of citizens and organisations on the best way to reduce the use of carrier plastic bags, including the effectiveness of taxation or the option of a general ban. The consultation served also to get input on the adequacy of the current requirements of biodegradability within the EU Packaging Directive.

An unprecedented 15,000 EU citizens and 500 public authorities, industry associations, NGOs and academic organizations responded to the public consultation. Over 70% of the respondents agree that a ban on plastic bags across the EU is needed, with only 12% agreeing that current requirements on compostability and biodegradability in the Packaging Directive were appropriate.

Results of the consultation are available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/packaging/events.htm

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