German Environment Minister says law to ban plastic bags is 'on its way'

The Germany Government is planning to ban plastic shopping bags, says the Environment Minister.

On Sunday (local time), Svenja Schulze announced the country will impose a legislative ban on plastic bags. The ban follows voluntary agreements with German retailers to reduce their plastic bag usage. 

A 2016 agreement with German businesses has been successful in reducing plastic bag consumption, as many customers now have to pay for their plastic.

Although the results of the agreements have been sufficient, Schulze believes they could be better.

"My ministry will get a plastic bag ban on its way," Schulze told Berlin-based national Sunday newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, saying the aim was to "get out of throw-away society".

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment has reported a 64 percent reduction in plastic bag usage since 2015. 

A timeline for the new law has not been released.

In May, Schulze called for the European Council to swiftly implement new rules on single-use plastic products following the Council's adoption of the Single-Use Plastics Directive.

"The Directive includes a ban on selected single-use plastic products that end up as marine littler... entering the world's oceans," says a Federal Ministry for the Environment press release.

One of the Directive's main initiatives is to ban plastic plates, cutlery, stirrers, balloon sticks, straws, cups and cotton buds with plastic components. From 2021, these products will no longer be sold in the EU.

"The new EU provisions are helping us shape a new trend towards less short-run packaging, less waste and more recycling," Schulze said in a statement.

"In Germany, these products are set to vanish from our shelves even before 2021."


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