Reduce plastic bag use by 50 % by 2019 | RetailDetail

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


Sales of PCs grows for the first time in six years

13/07/2018

For the first time in six years computer sales showed growth again: in the second quarter of 2018 they increased by 1.4%. According to research firms Gartner and IDC, the sales increase is mainly due to growth in business markets.

Retailhub Inspiration Tour: the customer journey becomes very different

09/07/2018

Thanks to Retailhub by RetailDetail, Antwerp has one more unique retail hot spot. Professionals can experience the future of retail in the Benelux' only retail inspiration platform, with 1250 sqm of innovative technology and huge trends.

Breakthrough in Karstadt-Kaufhof merger

05/07/2018

Canadian Hudson’s Bay and Austrian Sigma Holding have not reached a preliminary agreement about the merger of their respective department store chains Kaufhof and Karstadt: the Canadian company says it has only signed a letter of intent.

Alibaba CEO and Belgian PM discuss investment in Liège

04/07/2018

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has discussed a possible investment in Liège, Belgium with the country's prime minister Charles Michel. Afterwards no decisive statements were made by either party.

Toys "R" Us closes American stores amidst reboot hopes

02/07/2018

Final curtains for Toys "R" Us in the United States: all the stores have closed and 30,000 employees are laid off. Against all odds, some however still hope for a second life for the troubled chain.

“The biggest threat for department stores? Mismanagement!” (Maurizio Borletti, Chairman of Borletti Group)

28/06/2018

Are department stores a relic of the past, or do they contain seeds for the future of retail? That is the central question in our interview series ‘A love for department stores’, where we will discuss the challenges and opportunities for the business with a selection of leading voices in retail.