15 posts categorized "Region-Europe"

April 01, 2011

Bulgarian Government Pushes Fee on Plastic Carrier Bags

Plastics & Rubber Weekly 4.1.11

Zx500y290_997092 Beginning as early as July of 2011, the Bulgarian Government will impose a tax of 0.15 on Bulgaria's leva  (Bulgarian currency - €0.07) per plastic bag, increasing to 0.35 leva (€0.18) next year, to 0.45 leva (€0.23) in 2013, and up to 0.55 leva (€0.28) a year later, reports PRW. The progressive legislation is designed to help Bulgaria, which has one of the highest per capita uses of plastic bags in the European Union, with the growing waste problem and proliferation of plastic packaging waste. The country’s environmental ministry hopes the fee will deter the widespread consumption of plastic overall.

Similarly, the Bulgarian parliament has also amended other refuse related orders, including regulations on packaging waste, automotive waste, the treatment and transportation of waste from batteries and accumulators and the treatment of end of life electrical and electronic equipment.

To read the full article, click here.

Image: John Nyberg/sxc.hu


March 22, 2011

China, Malaysia and Czech Republic Become Latest Nations to Ban BPA

GreenBiz.com 3.15.11

Detskelahvegrafika China, Malaysia and the Czech Republic have joined the list of countries setting bans on the notorious endocrine-mimicking chemical Bisphenol-A, which has been linked in lab tests to a wide range of health issues. However, the rationale behind the ban is arguably diminished by an erroneous compromise: Baby bottles will go, but cups, plastic food containers, receipts and the linings of tin cans containing BPA will remain available to the public. Only items with a higher probablility of exposure in children and infants are being targeted.

China's Ministry of Health announced it plans to ban any BPA-containing baby bottles or other food and drink items for children, but has no start date as of now, reported Shanghai Daily. Malaysia's ban on baby bottles made with BPA begins next March; and in order to comply with a European directive, the Czech Republic must recall polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA as of June 1, 2011.

The Centers for Disease Control says 93-percent of us have BPA in our bodies.

To read the full article, click here.

Image: czechposition.com 

March 15, 2011

TED talk: Using Nature's Genius in Architecture

TED.com 02.11

How can architects fuel sustainable architecture and eliminate raw materials? Peering into the beautiful, organic world of molecular plant structures and insect biology, developers are looking at nature for answers. At TEDSalon in London, Michael Pawlyn illustrates how biomimicry could potentially revolutionize the way humans develop and sustain resources.

This extraordinary science and art of emulating nature's complex biological systems to solve human issues involves three habits of nature: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. Take a look at why Pawlyn suggests that adopting these habits is not only possible, but critical if we are to encourage sustainable design.


Plastic bag manufacturers sue Marin County over plastic bag ban

Plasticbaglaws.org 2.26.11

S-PLASTIC-BAG-BAN-REJECTED-large Following California's attempts to implement a statewide legislation to reduce consumption and distribution of plastic bags, Marin County and others continue to battle over effective methods of local regulation. Meanwhile, opposition groups like the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition pose a challenge.

Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (a plastics industry front group) filed suit against Marin County Feb. 24 over the plastic bag ordinance that the county's Board of Supervisors adopted in January, according to Plasticbaglaws.org. However, Marin County isn't the only one being targeted. The STPB has threatened and/or sued every California city that adopted a plastic bag ordinance after statewide legislation failed, leaving counties to consider their own bag fees and bans.

To read the full article, click here

Check out our stance on fees vs. bans here.

January 13, 2011

Italy bans the bag in 2011

Treehugger.com 1.3.11

Italy-Ban-Plastic-Bags Earlier this month Italy took a dramatic step to reduce its consumption of single- use, non-biodegradable plastic bags – use of such bags is now banned as of New Year’s Day. According to several reports, Italy was one of Europe’s top plastic bag consumers – using about 1/5th of the 100 billion bags used annually across Europe.  

Despite opposition from some retailers who argue that biodegradable bags are too expensive and not as durable, similar bans in other countries have proven successful. According to Treehugger, China’s bag ban has kept 100 billion bags out of the landfill since its inception two years ago.

Bag fees have also proved successful over the years – from Washington DC’s recent 5 cent fee to Ireland’s PlasTax back in 2002.

While we applaud Italy’s effort to curb wasteful consumption of plastic shopping bags, we continue to advocate plastic bag fees and taxes over bans for the following reasons:

  1. Fees are market-based solutions that get people to change their consumption habits – and with a nudge not a shove. Even small, 5-cent fees make a huge impact.
  2. Fees are practical for the consumer.
  3. There is evidence that fees can be adopted in the U.S., and they work! We have an example of a major city (D.C.) reducing consumption of use-and-toss bags by 80% with a small fee.
  4. The money collected from fees can go directly toward addressing the problem.
  5. If you don’t like the idea of your money going to fatten government coffers, no problem. Bring your own bag, and they don’t get a dime.

Read more about our stance on fees vs bans here.

Read the full Treehugger article here.

Image: Guardian

April 30, 2009

Plastic Bags Blow...and Illuminate!

Finndustry 4.05.09 Plasticbagsblow

My malevolence for the plastic bag was temporarily immobilized today while being delighted by the art group Luzinterruptus' celebration of  the vessel, with an "impromptu garden of light," installed near The Prado Museum. The installation, called “A Cloud of Bags Visit the Prado” was illuminated for a period of about 4 hours and included roughly 80 recycled baggies, which were inflated with the aid of the wind.

Our Take:  Who knew plastic bags could be something beautiful? We’re seeing a growing number of artists using the object of our ugly addiction to raise awareness about over-consumption.

Link: Plastic Bags Blow...and Illuminate!

September 17, 2008

France to impose a 'picnic tax' on plastic in waste war

The Daily Telegraph  09.16.08Francepicnictelegraph_2

To general incredulity, the French environment minister, Jean-Louis Borloo, confirmed the so-called "taxe pique-nique" on Monday. "We're doing it," he declared...

The tax will affect plastic goblets, knives and forks, and non-biodegradable paper plates and napkins.

Our Take: France takes a big step -- another example (like plastic bag fees) of government applying pressure and targeting use-and-toss items in order to change consumption habits. Whether the initiative succeeds or fails, it raises awareness about the hidden costs of disposable items and their massive over-consumption.

Link: France to impose a 'picnic tax' on plastic in waste war 

June 24, 2008

Venice urges tourists to drink from fountains

Reuters, 06.03.08 Venice_reuters

Tourists will be given an empty water bottle with the message "Don't throw me away, re-use me!" and a map indicating the 122 fountains flowing with water from the city's aqueducts, inviting them to quench their thirst directly from the source.

Link: Venice urges tourists to drink from fountains 

April 10, 2008

Plastic Bag Bans Gaining Momentum Around the World

National Geographic News 04.04.08Categoryimages_thumbs_national_geog

 Across the globe politicians and corporations are debating the effectiveness of plastic bag bans versus plastic bag taxes. Ireland, Italy and Belgium all tax plastic sacks, while places like San Francisco and China are banning them all together. Other countries and companies are implementing or considering recycling programs. Each attempt to deal with the issue has its pros and cons. According to Vincent Cobb, founder of ReusableBags.com, the movement has gained momentum. “We all have the tendency to buy too much stuff, and I think the symbolic nature is what has made this such a powerful thing.”

Our Take: Our founder was interviewed for this article – here is a quote: “A tax charged at checkout is what we need to change consumer behavior. Plastic bags aren’t inherently bad; it’s the mindlessness and volume of consumption.”

Link: Plastic Bag Bans Gaining Momentum Around the World 

July 06, 2007

Plastic bag levy rises to 22 cents

Ireland.com 7.01.07

The plastic bag levy has increased to 22 cent today in a further bid to reduce littering.

The former minister for the environment Dick Roche announced the rise last February which comes after evidence suggested the initial impact of the tax in 2002 was beginning to weaken.

Statistics showed each shopper used 328 bags a year before its introduction compared to just 21 afterwards. However plastic bag usage rose to 30 bags per person during 2006. The levy is seen as one of the most successful anti-littering devices introduced in Ireland and was copied internationally.

It initially sparked a 90 per cent drop in the use of plastic bags.

The funds help finance local environmental projects such as recycling facilities.

Link: Plastic bag levy rises to 22 cents

January 26, 2007

Campaign To Cut Down Carrier Bags

Somerset County Gazette

A campaign being led by the Somerset County Council and Somerset Waste Partnership will encourage retailers and check-out staff not to automatically give out carrier bags but to ask shoppers whether they actually need a bag. Wellington shoppers are being urged to play their part by using reusable shopping bags and packing the maximum amount that they can into carrier bags they take. They are also being reminded to reuse old bags such as using them as waste bin liners or for separating materials within their recycling boxes.

Link: Campaign To Cut Down Carrier Bags.

December 06, 2006

Paris to Ban Non-Biodegradale Plastic Bags Next Year


The city of Paris has decided to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags in large stores as of 2007, in an effort to cut down on pollution.

Experts say these disposable bags account for 8,000 tons of waste generated in Paris each year, at a cost of more than $2 million. Yves Contassot, the man responsible for environment and waste at the Paris city hall, says plastic bags are just one lesson about the dangers of overpackaging, and of using petroleum-based products to make these non-renewable bags. Parisians need to economize resources by managing them better, Contassot says. It's a question of environmental responsibility...

Link: Paris to Ban Non-Biodegradale Plastic Bags Next Year.

November 06, 2005

Reusable shopping bags 'taking off'

Belgian News, Belgium, Expatica

Belgian shoppers are increasingly opting for environmentally friendly reusable shopping bags and using fewer disposal ones, a new study has found.

A survey by consumer research group Crioc found a 9 percent jump in the use of reusable sacks between 2002 and 2003, and a 5 percent increase the following year.
At the same time, the study found a 36 percent decrease in the use of disposal bags in 2004...

Link: Reusable shopping bags 'taking off'.

December 08, 2004

Being Green

The Epoch Times

A customer holds up his plastic bag of groceries at an outdoor market in Venice, Italy. Plastic wraps, used worldwide, are adding to the landfill problem. We could do something as simple as bringing our own shopping bag when we go to the store so that we do not need to answer that ubiquitous question, "paper or plastic?"...

Link: Being Green.

August 06, 2002

Irish bag tax hailed success

BBC News

The new Irish tax on plastic bags, known as the PlasTax, is making international waves. Praised for effectively raising national awareness about the role each individual plays in pollution creation and reduction, the tax has lead to impressive, tangible changes in consumer behavior.

The tax is meant to encourage shopper to use tougher, reusable bags. The plan seems to be working like a charm. In the first three months after the tax was introduced, shops reported handing out just over 23 million plastic bags - about 277 million fewer than normal...

Link: Irish bag tax hailed success.