EUROPE – The European Parliament (EP) has voted in favour of the draft European Directive that will reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags.
Under the Directive, plastic carrier bags usage in Europe will have to be reduced by 50% by 2017, and 80% by 2019, compared to 2010 figures. This can be achieved through the use of measures such as taxes, levies, marketing restrictions or bans, to ensure that shops do not provide for plastic bags free of charge, except for very light ones, used to wrap loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy products.
On 16 April, the draft proposal was approved at first reading by the EP by 539 votes to 51.
This now paves the way for the draft law to be taken forward by the next Parliament and be submitted for approval by the Council – the EU’s higher chamber. EU elections will take place between 22 and 25 May, and the EU Environmental Ministers are expected to meet on 12 June 2014 to discuss this draft proposal.
The EP also proposed to phase-out bags that fragment and do not biodegrade and ban harmful substances in plastic bags - meaning the use of oxo-degradable plastics would no longer be considered a viable option.
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