Brian Hayes MEP

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Ireland leads the way in plastic bag war

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Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has welcomed the European Parliament’s support to introduce legislation to reduce the amount of plastic bags in circulation across Europe. The European Parliament voted today to make it mandatory for all EU member states to reduce their usage of plastic bags or face tough penalties.

“It’s difficult to believe that in 2015 the debate about plastic bag usage is still occurring. Ireland introduced charges in 2002 for each plastic bag. Overnight our usage of plastic bags declined from a high of 5% to where it is today 0.25%. One of the lowest in the EU.

“An estimated 99 billion plastic bags were circulating in the EU in 2010. That is almost 200 bags for each EU citizen. The usage of plastic bags varies widely between Member States with Ireland ranking as one of the top countries. Our usage per capita is 18, only to be beating by Denmark and Finland whose usage is 4. In contrast Estonia, Hungary and Poland all exceed 400 bags per capita. The EU average is 175.”

“Discarded plastic bags can be especially harmful to the marine environment, where animals may die after becoming entangled or mistaking the bags for food. If the success of the Irish plastic beg levy can be repeated across Europe the benefits to the environment will be great” concluded Mr Hayes.


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