On July 1, the regulations that oblige businesses to charge for single-use plastic bags came into force.
After many months discussing plastic bags, there is already a Royal Decree on the table that obliges businesses to charge for single-use plastic bags from Sunday, and that requires their withdrawal from the market as of 2021.
The legislation also includes a ban on oxodegradable plastic bags in 2020. A material that breaks down into small plastic particles in a very short time; bags that tend to have a shorter shelf life than regular plastic bags.
Despite these advances, regulations allow bags to be replaced by biodegradable bags, so the proposal continues to delve into the throwaway model. With this Royal Decree the extraction of natural resources is not limited but rather the problem is transferred from one material to another.
In addition, not all biodegradable bags are made of 100% organic materials, some still have percentages of plastic from petroleum in their composition. On the other hand, compostable bags create problems if they end up in conventional plastic recycling streams, reducing the quality of recycled plastic.
For this reason, Friends of the Earth considers that the opportunity to promote the real reduction of waste, to bet on reusable and durable alternatives, such as cloth bags, baskets or trolleys has been lost.
In turn, the environmental organization points out that the measure comes too late and emphasizes the need to implement proposals to reduce plastic pollution from different containers and disposable products, due to the seriousness of the problem. The forecasts made by the Ellen McArthur Foundation indicate that, if the model of consumption and generation of plastic waste is not changed, in 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
“We have spent years demanding effective measures to eliminate single-use plastic bags and other products such as plates, glasses, cutlery, and demanding reusable alternatives. The royal decree on bags is a first step on this path, but it should have been more ambitious, ”says Alodia Pérez, head of Natural Resources and Waste at Amigos de la Tierra.
Once the plastic bag reduction measure is implemented, it is necessary to start working on other products, as proposed by the European Union in the draft Directive on single-use plastic.
Alodia Pérez, Head of Natural Resources and Waste at Amigos de la Tierra, 649 420 922
Teresa Rodríguez Pierrard, communication manager of Friends of the Earth, Tel. 680 936 327, [email protected]