Germany could ban the use of most plastic bags in shops from next year, if a bill is approved on the topic.
“The vast majority of Germans want this,” said German Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze (SPD), who has prepared a bill on the issue.
There would be a transitional period of six months for shops. According to the Bild newspaper, fines of up to € 100,000 are said to be imposed on shops which still distribute plastic bags, but this was not confirmed, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
According to Schulze a German still uses an average of 24 plastic bags a year. Since 2016, shops have seen a decrease in the use after being asked to stop distributing plastic bags for free.
However, according to environmental organisations, a price on the bag does not go far enough and additional steps are needed to reduce the use of plastic further. The ban would not apply to the small lightweight bags for loose vegetables, or reusable bags, according to reports.
The bill still has to be approved by the entire government.
In Belgium Comeos – the interest group of the Belgian trade and services sector – previously announced that it will accelerate a ban on single-use plastic in Belgian supermarket and restaurant chains with a series of new commitments to be put in place by members.
As of December 2019, customers will no longer find any disposable plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket, as previously reported.