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Cabinet approves ban on free plastic bags

The goal for a drop in the consumption of plastic bags should be achieved by a cabinet approved amendment to the law on waste.

Plastic bags are popular in Slovakia, illustrative stock photo. (Source: Sme)

The cabinet passed the draft amendment at its session on December 14. According to the Environment Ministry-sponsored bill, shops should be banned from giving plastic bags to their customers for free, and they should also be obliged to keep records of them as of 2019.

Each Slovak consumes 466 plastic bags per year, while the EU average stands at 200, the TASR newswire cited an organisation called Envi-pak.

“Lightweight plastic bags turn into waste relatively quickly, so it’s necessary to prevent such waste from affecting the environment,” reads the ministry draft.

Read also:Slovakia seeks to curb usage of plastic bags

Moreover, Slovakia is obliged by European-Union directives to reduce the consumption of plastic bags. EU-member countries have two options according to the directive: either to ensure the annual consumption of light plastic bags does not exceed 90 per capita by the end of 2019 and 40 by 2025; or to make sure that they are not provided to shoppers free of charge.

If approved by parliament, the bill should come into force as of March 1, 2017.

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