03/09/17 Plastic Bags won't be Free!

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Animal Friends Croatia welcomes the proposed amendments to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation

- Public hearing until March 10th: Croatia spends more than 150 bags per citizen

After this year's Waste Management Plan announced the introduction of a plastic bag fee, the amendments to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation are a next step towards the phase-out of plastic bags in Croatia.

The Regulation prescribes a ban on free plastic bags in stores beginning in 2019, along with an educational public campaign about the ill-effects of plastic bags on the environment. Animal Friends Croatia (AFC) welcomed this decision during a public hearing and invited the Ministry to determine an appropriately high levy per bag. The current amendment defines the minimum plastic bag charge as the purchase price, which might be too low to influence consumer behavior in a positive way.

AFC, Green Action, and other non-profits have been pointing to the necessity of legal measures to efficiently reduce to use of plastic bags since 2009. They have advised the Ministry to levy all plastic bags, since no plastic bag is free. However, the draft Regulation doesn’t prescribe a charge for very lightweight plastic bags used to wrap produce and animal products, which might become an incentive for their abuse once the ban comes into force.
The Draft Regulation has also announced an educational campaign about the environmental impact of plastic bags. This is crucial in light of the fact that every Croatian resident spends more than 150 plastic bags per year. Only 1% is recycled due to high costs and lack of processing facilities. The rest ends up in landfills, causes water and sea pollution, threatens the environment, and harms animals, who may mistake the waste for food or get tangled in plastics.

AFC believes that the campaign will positively influence consumer habits and reduce the usage of all single-use plastic items as well as promote the use of sustainable and reusable items made from eco-friendly materials.

Croatia has an EU obligation to drastically reduce the use of plastic bags. In addition, as a tourist destination, it should protect its coast, lakes, rivers, and national parks from plastic pollution.

AFC invites citizens to protect the environment while shopping, by using tote bags, baskets, or other reusable bags.

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