NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Shelton, CT, United States, 2014/04/16 - Draft ruling sets targets for reduction of single-use shopping bags, includes provision for certified compostable bags - Novamont.com.
Today the European Parliament voted on the draft European Directive on carrier bags presented by the Commission on November 4, 2013.
The report put forth by MEP Margrete Auken (Greens/EFA, DK) fixes the reduction of single-use shopping bags, with targets set at 50% by 2017, 80% by 2019 (compared to 2010 figures), recognizing the differences between Member States and the possibility for each of them to take different paths in order to reach the common goal of reducing the number of plastic bags, including provisions for certified compostable bags.
It was approved by 539 votes to 51, with 72 abstentions.
The ruling has several important ramifications, namely:
• Countries that have implemented a ban, like Italy, can keep that legislation in place. Italy has already achieved a 50% reduction in single-use bags, and successfully linked an exemption for certified compostable bags to its organic waste diversion goals.
• Countries that have implemented a tax, like Ireland, are supported with the provision that reusable bags cannot be sold for less than the tax. Ireland has achieved an 80% reduction in the use of single-use bags with its 22-cent tax, and this ensures reusable bags cannot be sold for less (which would lead to an increase in the total number of bags used).
• Compostable bags are positioned as less harmful to the environment than conventional plastic bags, and Member States with source separated organics are encouraged to switch the remaining single-use bags to these materials. States with a tax may sell compostable bags at a reduced price.
• Oxo-degradable plastics are disqualified as an appropriate material.
By acknowledging that certified compostable bags are important for communities with source separated organics programs, and linking it with scientific standards, the ruling supports the international zero waste movement and the successes in cities from Milan to San Francisco.
“This ruling is a historical turning point because the European Parliament has for the first time introduced a rule aimed at minimizing the production of waste and at the same time incentivizing models that mimic biological systems to keep resources in circulation,” declared Catia Bastioli, CEO of Novamont. “The Italian model is based on quality compost produced from door-to-door separate collection of municipal waste, and the evolution and innovation in the compostable bioplastics sector. The interplay of these two developments over the past years has set in motion a series of actions and cooperations between various stakeholders (businesses, institutions, research bodies, trade associations, authorities) generating the ideal connections to promote a change in the economic and environmental model, with the efficient use of resources at its center.”