Worldwide, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year, nearly 2 million each minute.
The European institutions have adopted a legislative proposal amending the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) that addresses the challenge of conventional single use plastics carrier bags consumption, and explicitly sanctions the actions of several member states that have already recognised the benefits of compostable bags.
Merchants must discontinue the use of traditional single-use plastic bags in favor of bioplastic bags or other compostable alternatives. The law prohibits the use of OXO Biodegradable additives and requires Italian merchants to only use compostable applications as defined by EN 13432 that Compostable resins comply with.
Criticism of the oxo-biodegradable plastic industry had been led by Danish Green MEP Margrete Auken who introduced the ban on oxy-biodegradable bags to the EC’s original 2013 legislation to reduce lightweight plastic bag consumption.
European Bioplastics chairman François de Bie said: “This is crucial, because it retroactively legalizes national legislation of Member States de Bielike Italy and France. Both states have recognized the benefits that are achievable with biodegradable and compostable shopping bags.”
Plastic bags clearly have a cost to society, one that is not yet fully paid. Reducing disposable bag use is one small part of the move from a throwaway economy to one based on the prudent use of resources, where materials are reused rather than designed for rapid obsolescence.
“These countries are pioneers in putting the decisive ecological advantages of such bags to good use. This means enhancing the separate collection of biowaste and thereby diverting it from landfill.”