In a bid to fight plastic pollution, Slovenia has imposed a ban on free plastic bags in supermarkets across the country as of 1 January 2019.
However, implementing the ban will rest with individual retailers, according to the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning.
Light, plastic carry bags for non-prepacked, fresh foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and delicatessen will continue to be available. Consumers will have the option to buy plastic bags at retail outlets.
Slovenia aims to reduce the consumption of light plastic load bags to under 90 per person by the end of 2019, and below 40 by the end of 2025.
The first step in achieving this goal is to eliminate free plastic carrier bags, regardless of their thickness, at all retail outlets.
In July of last year, the Slovenian government adopted an amendment to the regulation on the handling of packaging and waste, which prohibits free plastic bags.
The move is aimed at preventing a general increase in the production of packaging, and to reduce the consumption of light plastic carrier bags.
According to the European Directive (2015/720/EU), plastic bags should not be available to consumers free of charge from 1 January 2019 in the European Union.
Very light plastic carrier bags, with a thickness of 14 microns or less used for packing fresh non-prepacked foods, can be exempted from the prohibition.
However, the exemption is applicable when only both conditions - thickness and intended use - are met.
Plastic Bags In The EU
In the EU, an individual uses around 200 plastic bags every year, and the average period of use is only 25 minutes.
Around 100 billion plastic bags are placed in the EU markets each year, out of which eight billion bags are disposed of each year (30 million in Slovenia), according to data from the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.