Plastic bag ban coming up

On 6 November, the German Government introduced a ban on plastic bags. These are the "embodiment of resource wastage", said Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. Thin bags for fruit and vegetables are excluded from the ban.

For a long time, the federal government relied on voluntary reduction of plastic use. Now a law is to tighten up the measures. The bill introduced by Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) concerns the bags that can be bought at the checkout in supermarkets or other shops. In the meantime these are generally subject to payment. “Plastic bags are the embodiment of resource wastage: they are made from crude oil and often only used for a few minutes,” said the Minister.

The particularly thin bags, used for example for fruit and vegetables,  and more stable carrier bags with a wall thickness of 50 micrometers or more, are excluded from the ban. The Federal States are responsible for implementing the ban.

In 2016, the retail trade and the German government had already agreed to reduce the consumption of plastic bags. Since then, many shops no longer have plastic carrier bags – or they are subject to a charge. According to figures published by the German government in 2018, there has been a constant decrease in the number of plastic bags in circulation since then.

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