The European Commission announced today that it will introduce new measures aiming to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags across Europe.

This is a first positive step. However, Surfrider regrets that the Commission does not propose an outright ban on plastic bags such as the association has been demanding for several years as part of its lobbying work at the EU. We nevertheless welcome the fact that the European Union has taken position on this global issue, which needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.

In the coming days, the Commission will propose an amendment to Directive 94/62/EC on waste and packaging waste. Several measures will be placed at the disposal of the Member States to reduce their use of plastic bags: Charges, objectives for reduction, and bans.

The text which has been proposed today constitutes a first step forward in the fight for a reduction of disposable plastic bags, but there is still much work to be done to stop their proliferation in the environment. Surfrider intends to keep on influencing the key European decision-makers to shift the balance in favour of a ban on plastic bags to protect the oceans and their biodiversity.

On average, each European citizen uses 500 disposable plastic bags every year. A large part of those non-recyclable bags is likely to end up in the natural environment and in the oceans. It is essential that the EU Member States take this opportunity offered by the Directive and give priority to the banning of disposable plastic bags over other measures aimed to reduce their use.

For several years, Surfrider has been leading an awareness-raising and lobbying campaign at the EU institutions to obtain a ban on disposable plastic bags. In 2011, thanks to the campaign "le sac plastique c’est pas automatique" (The plastic bag does not come automatically), over 250 shops stopped handing out plastic bags to their customers. In the same year as the european consultation, it has also shown that european citizens were in favor of banning single use plastic bags.

In March 2013, on the occasion of the Ocean Initiatives, the association launched a lobbying campaign asking the European Commission to take strong measures for a ban on plastic bags. This campaign gained the support of 15 MEPs from 10 different Member States. The objective to reach 20,000 signatures has been exceeded. The petition will be presented to the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocñik, on the 15th of November 2013 on the occasion of the European Week for Waste Reduction.

Contacts Surfrider Foundation Europe :
- Antidia Citores, Coordinator for Lobbying and Environmental Law/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 06 32 68 90 36
- Audrey Milhorgne, Coordinator of Communications Department / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 06 29 94 57 90 For more inforrmation, visit Surfrider website

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