If a carrier bag is compostable, then after you’ve carried your shopping home it can double as a caddy liner for food waste recycling. That’s the thinking behind our bioplastic carriers, and so we’re delighted to hear that the European Parliament Environment Committee agrees. MEPs have now voted to reduce consumption of plastic bags by 80% by 2019, whilst encouraging more widespread use of bio-based compostable bags.
Green MEP Auken said: “Swiftly phasing-out these bags is a very low-hanging fruit on the list of solutions to the pervasive problem of plastic waste in the environment.”
What’s more, Auken’s raises the important yet oft-confused distinction between oxo-degradable and biodegradable bags. Oxo-degradable bags are made of oil-based plastic with an additive to make them fall apart into tiny pieces, littering soils and seas with invisible but very harmful pollution. “Fragmentation transforms visible littering of items such as plastic carrier bags into invisible littering by secondary microplastics. This is not a solution to the waste problem, but rather increases pollution of the environment by those plastic materials.”
The proposals say members states should take measures “such as taxes, levies, marketing restrictions or bans” to ensure shops do not provide free plastic bags free of charge, except for very light ones used to wrap loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy products. They will now be submitted to the full Council of the European Union in April.