13 Nov

EU Ministers block plastic bag waste progress

Shame of EU Ministers failure to cut plastic bag waste.

This is not a good state of affairs to find at EU ministerial level. You see, a  group of European Union (EU) Member States – including the UK, Romania, Greece, Croatia and Poland – is blocking a European Parliament proposal to reduce EU plastic bag use by 80% by 2019.plastic_bag
As it currently stands we will not see an EU wide strategy to cut plastic bag  waste. If we want to follow the progress made in Ireland ,and now with the UK following, we need to push for an EU wide effort to cut out single use plastic bags.
The plastic bag levy was first introduced in the EU by Ireland on 4th March 2002 at the rate of 15 cent per bag . It has resulted in a 90% drop in consumption saving over a billion bags annually from landfill. California and Hawaii are also recent examples of Plastic bag bans.

Backward step.

This latest development is a serious backward step, because if  talks do not produce an agreement, the proposal will have to be rethought and could be lost completely.

What’s the current status? Well,  right now at time of writing, a group of European Union (EU) Member States – including the UK, Romania, Greece, Croatia and Poland – is blocking a European Parliament proposal to reduce plastic bag use by 80% by 2019.

This is in complete opposition to the 92% of Europeans who agree that measures should be taken to reduce single plastic bag use.

According to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the European Parliament proposals to impose charges on customers for plastic bags would mean savings and profits amounting to €650m per year between 2015 and 2020 for public authorities, manufacturers and retailers.

ZeroWasters around Europe have long urged taxation on one-time use , non-recyclable bags. This latest opposition simply amounts to a failure by our leaders to respect  the environment, common sense  or public opinion.  They show a complete disregard for the negative environmental consequences of pollution from plastic bags which we see all around us every day.

Negotiatins between the European Parliament, Council of European Union and European Commission will restart  on Monday 17 November, with the representatives from each member state meeting this Friday (14 November) ahead of those talks. If they do not produce an agreement, the proposal will have to be rethought and may be scrapped completely.

Despite Ireland’s  success story, the EU Council of Ministers want such decisions to be left up to national governments. We urge our readers to write to their MEP and ask that the EU policy follows that implemented successfully by Ireland.

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