Germany presents bill to ban sale of plastic bags

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The German Environment Ministry has presented a draft bill that plans to ban plastic bags from supermarkets, in a push aimed at reducing plastic bag consumption in the country even further.

The ban would affect bags “designed to be filled with goods at the retail outlet,” but not the lightweight bags used for packing fruit and vegetables, the draft bill said.

The Environment Ministry says that in Germany, around 20 such plastic bags are still used per person per year.

German Environment Minister, Svenja Schulze, had announced the proposed ban in August. In 2016, the ministry introduced a voluntary commitment for shops not to give out plastic bags for free.

This measure led to a significant reduction in plastic bag consumption, going down from 68 bags per person in 2015 to 24 bags per person in 2018.

However, environmental organisations have said it was not enough, as it could not be expected that plastic bag consumption would go down even further without more measures being introduced.

The ban would also include so-called organic plastic, which Schulze has said in the past is not the solution to protecting the environment.

There is no environmentally friendly organic plastic on the market,” Schulze said.