Germany bans plastic bags

The German government has decided to ban plastic bags, including those made from recycled plastic. The only exception will be the thin bags used for fruits and vegetables.

Germany is taking the battle against plastic waste up a notch. Last week, the German government passed an amendment to its packaging law banning retailers from distributing plastic bags.

The ban even extends to plastic bags made from renewable materials such as potato or corn starch.

“These do not represent an ecologically sensible alternative, because they are difficult to recycle and the plant matter used in these bags often require high amounts of pesticides to produce,” the government said in a statement.

Thin plastic bags, which are often used for fruits and vegetables, are exempted from the new ban, as this could lead to even greater waste, said environment minister Svenja Schulze.

The ban is coming under fire from some groups, including the Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Management, which called the ban “pure political posturing”.

Germany’s neighbour to the south, Switzerland, has decided to focus on price rather than prohibition, with retailers having to charge consumers a fee for plastic bags by the end of 2020.

Image credit: Sascha Kohlmann via Flickr

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