The German Bundestag has voted this Thursday in favor of prohibiting supermarkets from delivering plastic bags at the checkouts from 2022 with the aim of reducing the consumption of this type of lightweight bags, although the measure has been received with skepticism from environmental groups and the opposition.

With the support of the coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens, the text amends the Packaging Act and bans plastic bags with a thickness of between 15 and 50 micrometers, thus exempting some very lightweight bags, used mostly by consumers for fruits and vegetables.

After criticism from the industry, the legislative framework has finally extended the transition period until January 1, 2022, so that retailers can run out of plastic bags.

However, the measure has been received with suspicion by environmental organizations and groups, as they consider the ban is only symbolic, as plastic bags represent only 1% of plastic consumption in Germany, as reported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as reported by the newspaper Die Welt.

For its part, the environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe has considered that the measure prolongs too much the disappearance of plastic bags, noting that every minute 3,700 disposable plastic bags are generated as waste, which usually end up in the environment.

But not only the NGOs have been demanding with the initiative, the opposition of Die Linke, the anti-capitalist left, and the Greens have considered during their interventions in the Bundestag session that it is not ambitious enough.

Also from the conservative opposition, the amendment has been criticized as an attempt at unjustified market intervention without demonstrable benefits for the environment.

However, the German Minister of Environment, Svenja Schulze, has stressed that “the plastic bag is the epitome of the waste of resources”, so she has urged people to use alternatives such as shopping baskets, washable cloth bags and reusable boxes.


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