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European Parliament declares war on plastic bags

Alyn Smith MEP (SNP – Scotland) has today heralded a vote in the European Parliament – which will seek to significantly reduce the EU’s dependency on lightweight plastic carrier bags – as a significant step forward in reducing the EU’s waste and in the fight against climate change.

The proposals, voted on by Euro MPs’ in Strasbourg today, will see a reduction target of 50 per cent within three years and 80 per cent within five years. Among the measures contained within the report is a requirement that plastic bags come at a cost, and an option for Member States to go further and ban single use bags, or put in place other national restrictions (e.g. a national tax on their use or a tax on supermarkets who provide free non-compliant bags).

Welcoming the vote, two-term MEP Alyn Smith said:

“This is a positive step and I’m glad that we will see action now across the whole of the EU, not just in those Member States wishing to be proactive.

“Every year nearly 100 billion plastic bags are used in the EU, with almost 90% of them only being used once before ending up as waste. It’s a huge problem but one that can be easily fixed with a change of attitude.

“Almost every supermarket now offers the opportunity to buy better quality ‘bags for life’ and hopefully these rules will mean that more people opt for that option.

“The Scottish Government should also be congratulated for being ahead of the game on this, releasing our own draft regulations last year which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in October.”