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Monday 05.12.2016 | Name days: Sabīne, Sarma, Klaudijs
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Free plastic bags to be prohibited in the EU

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUA directive accepted by the European Union provides for reducing the number of single-use plastic bags by half before 2017 and by 80% before 2019.

Each member state has a different number of single use plastic bags. This is because their use depends on shopping habits. Consumption of plastic bags is the highest in Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria – 460 bags per capita a year. Consumption is the lowest in Denmark, Finland, Germany, France, Netherlands and Luxembourg – approximately 100 per capita. Consumption of plastic bags in Latvia is 190 per capita annually.

To reduce consumption of plastic bags, Latvian Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry plans to prohibit free plastic bags in shopping centres and other locations. At the same time, the ministry supports the initiative voiced by LTA to allow the use of light plastic bags in cases when they are necessary to compliance with hygiene requirements or product wrapping.

LTA board member Martins Sablovkis says: «Realistically speaking, traders have stopped giving customers plastic bags for free a long time ago. The only free plastic bags are those used by customers to put in fruits and vegetables and other products when shopping. If these plastic bags stop being free, large trade networks will earn even more money by asking as little as one cent per bag.»

«Soon the government’s announced prohibition on free plastic bags will come into force. I ask traders to stop offering customers free plastic bags and replace them with bags made from bio-plastic, paper, cloth or other kinds of environmentally friendly materials. To promote the use of environmentally friendly bags, LTA and the Green Belt will organize a special campaign. There will be a special event organized near Origo shopping centre new the central railway station on 5 August. During this event, consumers will be presented advantages provided by bio-plastic,» – emphasizes LTA President Henriks Danusevics.

«Latvia should lift the tax in relation to bio-polymer materials in order to ensure there is more interest to use them. The do cost more money than plastic, however. In addition, we see that plastic bags are polluting the environment, with plastic bags found in forests, bodies of water and other locations. The damage this causes to the environment is immeasurable in comparison with the price difference of bags made from bio-polymer materials, which degrade in the soil,» – explains Chairperson of Latvia’s Green Belt Velga Vilcina.

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