EDGWARE (Scrap Monster): The European Parliament has voted on a new rule that requires EU member countries to phase out the usage of plastic bags. The legislation to this effect, steered by Margrete Auken , was voted on Tuesday. The EU legislation requires member countries to devise ways to cut down plastic bags consumption across the region.
According to the agreement, EU member nations are required to implement necessary measures to reduce average consumption of plastic bags to 90 lightweight bags per citizen by the end of 2019 and 40 by the end of 2025. Alternatively, they must ensure that shoppers are charged for plastic bags by the end of 2018.
Furthermore, the European Commission is required to study the environmental impacts of oxo-degradable plastic materials and recommend suitable measures. By 2017, the European Commission is required to come up with labeling and marking standard for biodegradable and compostable plastic bags. Studies indicate that majority of plastic carrier bags used in the EU are thinner than 50 microns. These plastic bags are less reusable when compared with their thicker counterparts. They are found to pollute water bodies and marine life and also cause serious environmental hazards. Also, plastic particles contain toxic pollutants.
As per estimates, approximately 100 billion plastic bags are used throughout Europe each year with per capita usage at 198. According to the EP, approximately 8 percent of those bags “end up in lakes and rivers or in the countryside and on roads.” The EP also suggests 94 percent of birds native to the North Sea “have plastic in their stomachs.”