08 Jun 2011 12:06:07
Plastic bag ban 'would show commitment to waste reduction'
Banning single-use plastic bags would send a clear signal to the public that Europe is serious about reducing waste, one expert has claimed.
Last month, the European Commission launched a consultation into how to reduce the use of plastic bags, considering options such as higher taxes and charges or a continent-wide ban.
Every year the average European citizen consumes 500 carrier bags, many of which are used just once.
Sam Jarvis, director of communications at Waste Watch, said a ban would act as a "red herring" by taking attention from issues relating to industrial waste, but added he believed it would demonstrate "a clear statement of intent that we all share a responsibility to reduce our waste".
He added: "Restricting the availability of plastic bags could result in a broader change in public attitudes to resource use, which sees us move away from our throw-away consumer culture towards a more sustainable way of living."
The European consultation also looked at upping the biodegradability requirements for packaging and boosting the visibility of more environmentally-friendly wrappings.