In 2010, over 8 billion plastic carrier bags were littered in the EU, which translates to almost 200 plastic bags per EU citizen a year.
The European Commission proposal leaves it open to Member States to choose the most appropriate measures to reduce the overall usage such as charges, reduction targets or a ban under certain conditions.
Commenting on today’s proposals by the European Commission, Liberal Democrat European Environment spokesperson Chris Davies said:“Too many lightweight plastic bags end up littering our landscape and polluting our seas and beaches. It’s the sheer number of them that causes the problems and presents a threat to wildlife.
“I welcome the Commission’s call for action, but it’s right that each country within the EU should decide for itself the best way of achieving the goal.”
Liberal Democrats in the UK have called for a 5p charge per plastic bag from 2015, pointing to the success that a similar approach has achieved in Ireland and Denmark.
Plastic bags found on UK beaches in 2010 reached a density of one bag every 23 meters according to the European Commission’s impact assessment. The cumulative number of bags littered over time increases disproportionately as plastic bags can persist in the environment for hundreds of years.
Notes to editors:
More information on the Commission’s proposals can be found here: