In just four years, there has been a 64% decline in the number of plastic bags used in Germany.
Germany’s environment minister has announced plans to outlaw single-use plastic bags, bringing Germany’s domestic policy closer in-line with the European parliament’s strategy to minimise single-use plastics and improve pollution across the continent.
The official announcement of the ban comes after data showed that in the four years since 2015, plastic bag usage in Germany has declined by a staggering 64%.
“My ministry will get a plastic bag ban on its way,” Schulze told BIld am Sonntag, Germany’s Sunday national newspaper. While she didn’t confirm a deadline for the plastic bag ban to be implemented, she did drive home the point that the policy is aimed at getting “out of the throw-away society and that over, we use less plastic.”
In 2016, the German government reached an agreement with German businesses aimed at reducing plastic bag consumption; resulting in many customers being asked to pay for plastic bags at the checkout of the supermarket.
The UK has already moved on its ban on plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers which comes into effect in April of 2019. The UK’s environment secretary, Michael Gove said his government had received “overwhelming” support from the public for the move.
England implemented a similar strategy with businesses to discourage customers from using single-use plastic bags, and the results have been even more so impressive. According to The Independent “disposable bag use in England’s main supermarkets has fallen by more than 90% since the introduction of a 5p charge in 2015.”
Michael Gove said the move was a realisation of the fact that “urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment,” he said. “These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life… I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution, and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations,” Gove concluded.