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Use of plastic bags to be reduced

2014-12-19

At the Environmental Council meeting held in Brussels this week, the ministers have discussed the aims of reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic bags in each European Union member state.

The environmental impact assessment carried out by the European Commission has disclosed that the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags by residents of the EU member states differs. For example, annual consumption per capita in Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Portugal is about 400, while in Finland, Denmark, Luxemburg and Ireland it is less than 10.

Information of the Lithuanian Association of Trade Companies shows that in Lithuania one person uses about 230 plastic bags thinner than 50 microns per year.

Earlier the European Parliament and Council Directive on packaging and packaging waste has not provided for any concrete measures aimed at reducing the use of lightweight plastic bags.

At the Environmental Council, the ministers have discussed an amendment to the said Directive, calling on the EU member states to ensure by the beginning of 2019 that lightweight plastic carrier bags will not be distributed free of charge at trading venues and/or to reduce by 2020 the use of plastic carrier bags thinner than 50 microns.

‘We support the proposal to reduce the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags as this will allow reducing environmental pollution. At the Environmental Council, we have voted for the member states’ choice of specific measures to be applied to achieve this aim,’ said Kęstutis Trečiokas.

It is expected that the use of plastic bags thinner than 50 microns per capita in the EU member states will not exceed 90 in 2020 and 40 in 2026. After they choose measures for solving the plastic bags problems, the member states will be able to apply an exemption to especially lightweight plastic bags thinner than 15 microns.

According to the minister, it is important that Lithuania sets realistic and reasonable aims for the reduction of the use of plastic bags and thin plastic bags that cause most environmental problems.

Public Information Division
19/12/2014

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas