thepaperbag thepaperbag

The bag that is compliant

For compliance with the law

The member states of the European Union prefer bags that do not harm the environment: in 2018, the European Commission launched an EU-wide plastics strategy with the intent to transform the way products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU. The strategy pursues an ambitious target for the recyclability of plastic packaging and the reduction of microplastics which are a significant source of marine pollution. According to the EU plastics strategy, all plastic waste must be recyclable by 2030.1

As a part of this, the Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive bans single-use products made of plastic that are most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas, such as cotton bud sticks, cutlery and straws for which alternatives exist.

This SUP Directive follows the Plastic Bags Directive (EU) 2015/720 of 2015, which entailed the introduction of charges for the use of plastic bags and changed shoppers’ behaviour across the continent.2 

Reducing plastic waste

Littering of plastic carrier bags leads to a widespread problem of rubbish in water bodies, threatening aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Furthermore, littering of plastic carrier bags is an inefficient use of resources. More facts and figures on the effects of plastic waste have been put together by the European Commission. In order to promote a sustained reduction in the average consumption level of lightweight plastic carrier bags, EU member states could take measures such as pricing, the use of taxes and fees, or restrictions on placing such bags in the market.

However, it was mandatory for all EU member states to adopt measures which make sure that the annual consumption level stays under a certain amount (90 lightweight plastic carrier bags by the end of 2019 and 40 by the end of 2025) and/or that lightweight plastic carrier bags are not provided free of charge at the point of sale, unless equally effective instruments are implemented. Very lightweight plastic carrier bags may be excluded from those measures.

For more information on the regulations in the EU member states go to Regulations in the EU.




European Commission, A European strategy for plastics in a circular economy, 2018


European Commission, Plastic Bags Directive, 2015

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