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Taxing the plastic bag mountain edges closer

May 24, 2011 9:52 AM

Diana is urging people across the region to make their voices heard on how to reduce the amount with the millions of plastic bags which go to waste disposal as the European Commission has called for suggestions on how to deal with plastic bags across the EU.

Diana, who has long supported a small environmental tax on carrier bags said:

"The European Commission called for suggestions on how to deal with the billions of bags used in the EU each year, but which take hundreds of years to decompose. In our region alone something like a billion bags are distributed every year.

"Plastic bags litter the environment, pollute our seas and cause the death of birds and other animals as a result.

"A small tax introduced inIrelandin 2002 has been a huge success, encouraging people to reuse bags without creating waste. Other countries are now following suit. The money raised could be used specifically to pay for environmental and recycling projects.

"I first launched my own campaign in Leeds in November 2005 and have since taken the message to reduce the plastic bag mountain from Barnsley to Scarborough; a message that has met with widespread support.

"It is high time real action was taken to clear the plastic bag mountain and I am delighted the Commission is finally taking the initiative."

The European Commission is considering a tax or a ban on plastic bags as it seeks the public's views on how to reduce their use and fight pollution.

A total of 3.4 million tonnes of plastic bags, weighing the same as about two million cars, were produced inEuropein 2008.

Several countries have already introduced bans on disposable plastic bags or struck agreements with retailers to phase them out. Most supermarkets now charge for their use. But there is no specific measure at EU level, the Commission points out, saying "effective action is needed".

The Commission is also seeking the public's views on how to boost biodegradability of packaging, with an upcoming review of the EU Packaging Directive. The review will also look at clearer labelling for biodegradable bags in order to help consumers make better choices.

The Commission's public consultation will close at the end of August.

See here for more details on how to submit opinions:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/plasticbags_en.htm

Notes:

http://dianawallismep.org.uk/en/article/2005/063712/tax-the-plastic-bag-mountain-says-local-lib-dem-euro-mp