News from our Members

NABU | Still too many plastic bags handed-out in Germany

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Following the announcement by the German Association of Retailers that the consumption of plastics bags in Germany was reduced from 68 to 45 bags per person over the last year, ACR+ member NABU has published an article sharing its views regarding single-use plastic bags in Germany.

It is explained that in 2016, the German trade association came to a voluntary agreement with the German Ministry for the Environment to get ahead of legal obligations regarding plastic bags: the signatory companies committed to no longer give out single-use plastic bags for free. According to NABU, the fact that bags consumption decreased in the past year so much shows how much customers were pressed before the agreement to take plastic bags, since they were used as a promotional measure. However, NABU doubts that consumption continues to develop so positively based alone on the voluntary agreement, since many more sectors – like textile sector, pharmacies, etc. – would also have to commit themselves.

Thus, NABU explains that a legally set fee for all single-use plastic bags is needed for these sectors to change their views and stop handing out free plastic bags. Also fast food stalls, bakeries, kiosks or weekly markets, whose plastic bags frequently end up littered on land or in waters, are usually still offering bags for free. The incomes from the fee should be bound to a specific purpose and go into, for example, projects on waste prevention. To finish NABU underlines the importance of applying the fee to all single-use bags, regardless if plastic or paper; since paper bags do not have a better environmental performance than plastic bags (they have only an advantage when ending up by mistake in nature, which is luckily not the case for all bags in Germany).

Source: (in German)