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Resource Efficiency

German Environment Agency recommends extension of plastic bag fee


The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Germany’s main environmental protection agency, is recommending a further reduction in the use of disposable plastic carrier bags and an expansion of the fee on shopping bags, which is already being implemented in the retail food trade. This will encourage resource efficiency, avoid waste and reduce the amount of waste entering the marine environment.  Read more…

The recommendation complies with the European Commission’s recent amendment to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. This stipulates that Member States take measures to reduce the consumption of plastic bags with a wall thickness of less than 50 microns, and that these measures may include the use of economic instruments (such as taxes and levies). As part of the discussion on disposable plastic bags, the UBA recently held talks with stakeholders regarding the current situation in Germany and what measures would be best suited to curb the consumption of disposable plastic bags.

Despite Germany’s highly developed waste management system, plastic bags and their remnants are still being found in the environment, particularly the oceans and seas. Data from 2008 – 2012 indicate that the drift line of the North Sea had an average of 1.5 disposable plastic carrier bags and three small, thin-walled plastic bags for every 100 metres of coastline. Plastic residues are the dominant form of waste along the drift lines of Europe’s seas, which poses a grave threat to marine animals who mistake the fragments for food, causing severe internal injuries and often death.

Find more info:

Press release 

‘Disposable Bag’ event

European Commission – MEMO/13/945 

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