The European Commission is due to publish a report to reduce the number of plastic bags used in Europe. This could favour an outright ban or merely water down option.

Statistics indicate over 4 billion bags are thrown away each year which can be seen threatening our wildlife and strewn across our landscape.

Throughout Europe countries are tackling this issue differently. By taking your own bag, just like one of our own Envirosax reusable bags it avoids a levy and it has been pointed out that “evidence from other countries demonstrates that a bag levy is an effective means to assist to reduce substantially the negative environment impact of carrier bag consumption. However, it is recognised that consumers will need to change their behaviour”

Throughout Europe countries are tackling this issue differently –

  • Italy – became the first country in Europe to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags.
  • Republic of Ireland – introduced a charge of 15 euro in March 2002 which led to significant reduction in plastic bags and increased dramatically use of long-life bags.
  • Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands are among countries following Ireland’s lead.
  • Wales – introduced a 5p levy.
  • Northern Ireland – looking to introduce a levy from April 2013 to single use bags of 5p, this will raise to 10p in April 2014. By phasing in will assist consumers to change their behaviour and adjust to using their own bags.

In other parts of the World countries are also tackling this issue –

  • Rwanda and Somalia – have banned very thin plastic bags
  • United Arab Emirates – have banned all plastic bags, except, oxo-biodegradables for concerns about pollution and risks to animals.

Plastic bags are only a part of the problem; manufacturers need to tackle the way in which they package their products. There is an enormous amount of unnecessary packaging being recycled and governments need to work with companies worldwide to tackle this issue.

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