Europe says no to plastic bags


Over 70% of respondents to a European Commission public consultation have voted in favour of a ban on the distribution of plastic bags. Green groups Seas at Risk and European Environment Bureau say the Commission should now act on this overwhelming support and implement a ban across Europe.

The public consultation was intended to explore options to reduce the use of plastic bags and options to improve the requirements of biodegradability under EU law. Over 15,500 responses were gathered by the Commission with just over 15,000 replies from EU citizens.

Chris Carroll of Seas At Risk said: “Plastic bags are a menace to the marine environment and this consultation has shown that European citizens have had enough of them. The Commission must listen to this resounding support for a ban and implement one across Europe as soon as possible. The Commission must also now look at how to reduce the use of other single use and disposable products and packaging that often end up as waste in the marine environment.”

Stephane Arditi of the European Environment Bureau said: “With more than two thirds of respondents supporting a ban of single use plastic bags, a clear signal is being sent to European institutions: it’s time for longer lasting products and for effective legal instruments supporting waste prevention.“

The results of the consultation show that over 70% of 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.

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