EU seeking views on plastic bags

Posted on 27th May, 2011

Views are being sought by the European Commission on how to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags across Europe. Ideas include charging for the bags, taxation or an EU-level ban.

Every year the average person uses around 500 plastic bags, and it is thought that most are only used once.

Wales have already adopted a scheme whereby retailers must charge 5p per carrier bag in order to encourage consumers to re-use bags. And there are also tougher restrictions in Ireland.

Announcing the consultation, European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik said: “Fifty years ago, the single-use plastic bag was almost unheard of – now we use them for a few minutes and they pollute our environment for decades. But social attitudes are evolving and there is a widespread desire for change.

“That’s why we are looking at all the options, including a Europe-wide ban on plastic carrier bags. We need the views of as many people as possible to complement our scientific analyses1 and help drive policy on this issue, which is suffocating our environment.”