Europe – Over 70% of respondents to a European Commission public consultation exercise favoured a ban on the distribution of plastic bags while only 12% believed existing compostability and biodegradability requirements in the EU Packaging Directive were appropriate.
The consultation was intended to explore options to: reduce the use of plastic bags; and to improve biodegradability requirements under EU law. More than 15 500 responses were gathered by the Commission, with just over 15 000 replies from EU citizens. Green groups Seas at Risk and the European Environment Bureau (EEB) say the Commission should now act on its outcome and implement a ban across Europe.
Chris Carroll of Seas at Risk says: ‘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 EEB adds: ‘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.’