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PRESS RELEASE: EU Member States asked to deliver final decisive effort for Europe to break free from single-use plastic bags

Only 4 months away from the transposition deadline of the EU Plastic bags directive, environmental NGOs celebrate today the 7th edition of the International Plastic Bag Free Day. 2016 is a pivotal year which will pave the way towards what NGOs hope, a European plastic bag free future.

For immediate release: Brussels, July 1, 2016

EU governments have until the end of November to adopt national legislative measures to drastically reduce the use of single-use plastic carrier bags. While many initiatives have popped up locally, some Member States are still lagging behind in engaging in the fight against plastic bag pollution. At the same time, some EU countries such as Italy and France already have, or are planning bans on plastic bags and are paving the way ahead.

More than 100 billion bags are used annually in Europe and most end up in landfills, incinerators or as litter in aquatic environments. In addition to harming the marine environment, producing these bags requires millions of barrels of oil per year. Moreover, plastic bags can take centuries to degrade and are responsible, together with other litter items, for the deaths of an estimated 100,000 marine mammals every year.

The International Plastic Bag Free Day, celebrated over the World on July 3rd, is a unique occasion for Fundació Prevenció de Residus, together with NGOs Surfrider Foundation Europe and Zero Waste Europe, and the undersigned organisations to spread the word that a plastic bag free world is possible and that sound environmental alternatives to single use plastic bags are available.

NGOs ask governments to show ambition and caution, recalling that paper bags and biodegradable bags remain single use options and should be avoided. They call on the European Commission to speed up the two reports promised in the Plastic Bags directive on very-lightweight and oxo-degradable plastic bags, as they are still far too common in the European market. Oxo-degradable bags, in particular, have proven to be extremely harmful for the marine environment, as they break into small pieces impossible to remove.

European citizens expect national governments to seize this opportunity for action. NGOs too call on governments to set an example, and take ambitious action: We are glad that more and more regions, municipalities and Member States are taking on what Italy has started in 2011 with its ban on single use bags. It is now time for all EU Member States to take their responsibilities and stop the plastic bag flow – whether they are used as carrier bags or for the transport of fruits and vegetables- into the environment and eventually into the Ocean”.

ENDS

More information:

www.plasticbagfreeday.org

www.surfrider.eu/en/ban-the-bag

www.zerowasteeurope.eu

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Matt Franklin

I am the Communications & Programme Officer for Zero Waste Europe. I joined Zero Waste Europe in July 2015, moving to Manchester, UK after living in Bologna, Italy, and working as a freelance campaign communications consultant. Before Bologna I worked for People & Planet as a Corporate Power Campaigns Co-ordinator, supporting UK student groups campaigning around workers’ rights in the garments and electronics industries. I have been long been involved in grassroots social movements, and campaigns for social and environmental justice. I graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Anthropology and Classical Literature & Civilisations.

There are 2 comments
  1. […] A joint statement was released by a coalition of organisations including Fundació Prevenció de Residus, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Zero Waste Europe and others calling for the European Member States to take the final step and ban the use of plastic bags, replacing single use options with more sustainable and reusable alternatives. […]

  2. Laura de Montagu

    Yes, no more single use plastic bags, but no more organic shopping bags either. A study confirmed that 4 times the energy used to produce the same quantity of plastic bags is necessary to produce organic bags from corn or other vegetables. With people starving in Africa and Asia, we are using crops o make bags. We cannot aford this. This is not acceptabe !!! Let’s make heavier, durable bags, using recycled plastics, and let’s recycle them again and again in a proper way. This is a loop system virtually endless.

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