Reduce plastic bag use by 50 % by 2019

Reduce plastic bag use by 50 % by 2019

Europeans will only be allowed to use 90 disposable bags per year by 2019 and merely 40 by 2025, according to the European Parliament and the member states.

"Halve or pay"

The previous European Commission chose the "soft approach" in November 2013. It was then decided that the use of disposable bags had to drop 80 %, but member states could choose for themselves how - and more importantly when - to reach that target.

 

The new European Commission, led by Juncker, copied that approach, but was taken by surprise when European Parliament and its 28 member states jointly decided on a much stricter deal, summarized as "halve or pay".

 

Member states have two options: either a levy on the use of disposable bags from 2018 onward to discourage their use, or reduce the number of disposable plastic bags to 90 bags per person per year by the end of 2019 and 40 by the end of 2025. That would mean it would more than halve every time, as the current European average is some 200 bags. 

 

Commission has its doubts

Frans Timmermans, European Commissioner and tasked with reigning in Europe's regulatory urges, had already expressed concerns about the compromise's viability. A number of member states apparently does not have sufficient data to pin down enforceable European guidelines, while there is not enough legislation present to label biodegradable bags.

 

"We support the goal to limit the consumption of plastic disposable bags, while fighting trash and sea pollution, but it is a well-known fact that the new Commission strives for better legislation", a spokesperson for the Commission explained.

 

A 'clash' between the Commission and Parliament seemed imminent, but in the end, Dutch European Commissioner Timmermans revealed that the Commission would no longer protest the compromise, paving the way for the guideline's approval.

 

Pollution

It is estimated that some 98.6 billion plastic disposable bags were used in Europe in 2010. More than 8 billion of those ended up polluting the environment with devastating consequences: 80 % of all environmental pollution at sea consists of plastic. On average, there is a plastic bag every 23 m around the United Kingdom coastline.

 

With only some 100 bags per consumer per year, Belgium is among the best students of the class. Way lower on the scale are the Portuguese and the Polish, with 460 bags per consumer per year. There is still room for improvement for Belgium as the Danes and the Finns only use 4 bags per consumer per year.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the editors


Facebook launches its Marketplace in Europe

16/08/2017

In October 2016, Facebook launched a marketplace for used items in several countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States. That marketplace is now also coming to Belgium, the Netherlands and fifteen other European countries.

AS Adventure acquires German McTrek

14/08/2017

Belgian outdoor chain AS Adventure has acquired its German competitor McTrek. The acquisition opens up the largest European outdoor market for the Belgians, thanks to McTrek’s 39 stores and web shop.

American department store chains continue to struggle

11/08/2017

Several American department store chains continue to underperform. Both Macy’s and Kohl’s experienced turnover slumps compared to the previous year, even though they both managed to beat analysts’ expectations.

Amazon wants to compete with Ticketmaster

11/08/2017

Amazon is in talks with American event location owners to see whether it could sell tickets for their events on its web shop.

Record turnover for Henkel

10/08/2017

German Henkel has had a record second quarter, when turnover reached nearly 5.1 billion euro. For the first time ever, its six-month turnover surpassed the 10 billion euro milestone, thanks to its acquisition of laundry detergent company Sun.

Lion Capital once again wants to sell Hema

08/08/2017

Lion Capital has approached business bank Credit Suisse to look into “strategic options” for Hema, which basically means it has to find an interested buyer for the Dutch store chain.

Back to top