FFE Magazine

Denmark leads scrapping of plastic bags in EU

by FFE EU News staff

The European Commission (EC) has placed plastic bag use and waste among their top concerns and proposed a measure to reduce single-use plastic bags in Europe. The EC also praised Danes and Finns for leading the cause.

Both countries use around four lightweight plastic bags per person annually. This comes in staggering contrast to other nations like Poland, Portugal and Slovakia which use more than 466.

EC environment commissioner Janez Potočnik has noted that some EU states have made efforts to reduce the almost 100 billion bags in circulation since 2010. He added that ‘If others followed suit we could reduce today’s overall consumption in the EU by as much as 80%.’

Of the billions of bags in the market, the majority is taken up by lightweight bags which are rarely re-used and often end up in the marine environment. Their rate of decay can take up centuries.

‘We’re taking action to solve a very serious and highly visible environmental problem. Every year, more than eight billion plastic bags end up as litter in Europe, causing enormous environmental damage,’ the commissioner said.

The EC’s new measure will make EU states choose from a number of options like adding charges on bags, bans or national reduction targets.

Today, the EU estimated 250 billion plastic particles or some 500 tonnes of plastic are floating in the Mediterranean Sea alone. These particles can endanger the lives of sea creatures which mistake them for food. The particles can also break into smaller toxic substances that pollute waterways and the soil.

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