Procedure : 2013/0371(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0174/2014

Texts tabled :

A7-0174/2014

Debates :

PV 15/04/2014 - 21
CRE 15/04/2014 - 21

Votes :

PV 16/04/2014 - 7.21
CRE 16/04/2014 - 7.21

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2014)0417

REPORT     ***I
PDF 291kDOC 391k
14 March 2014
PE 526.120v02-00 A7-0174/2014

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags

(COM(2013)0761 – C7-0392/2013 – 2013/0371(COD))

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Rapporteur: Margrete Auken

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags

(COM(2013)0761 – C7-0392/2013 – 2013/0371(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2013)0761),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0392/2013),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 26 February 2014(1),

–   having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0174/2014),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Amendment   1

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) Consumption of plastic carrier bags results in high levels of littering and an inefficient use of resources and is expected to increase if no action is taken. Littering of plastic carrier bags contributes to the problem of marine litter that threatens marine eco-systems worldwide.

(2) Consumption of plastic carrier bags results in high levels of littering and an inefficient use of resources and is expected to increase if no action is taken. Littering of plastic carrier bags results in environmental pollution and aggravates the widespread problem of litter in water bodies, threatening aquatic eco-systems worldwide.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2a) Furthermore, the accumulation of plastic carrier bags in the environment has a clearly negative impact on certain branches of the economy, such as tourism.

Amendment 3

Proposal for a directive

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) Plastic carrier bags with a thickness below 50 microns, which represent the vast majority of the total number of plastic carrier bags consumed in the Union, are less frequently re-used than thicker plastic carrier bags and more prone to littering.

(3) Lightweight plastic carrier bags with a thickness below 50 microns, which represent the vast majority of the total number of plastic carrier bags consumed in the Union, are less reusable than thicker plastic carrier bags, thus become waste more quickly, are more prone to littering and, due to their light weight, more likely to end up scattered through the environment, both on land and in freshwater and marine-ecosystem.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a directive

Recital 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3a) Current recycling rates are very low even though plastic carrier bags are recyclable. Furthermore, the recycling of plastic carrier bags is not expected to reach a significant level, as due to their thinness and light weight, plastic carrier bags do not have a high recycling value. In addition, there is no separate collection for plastic carrier bags, their transportation is costly, and washing them for recycling requires large volumes of water. The recycling of plastic carrier bags therefore does not resolve the problems caused by them.

Justification

Current recycling levels of plastic carrier bags are at 6,6%. According to the Bio-Intelligence Study that informed the impact assessment, recycling levels are estimated to stay below 10% in 2020. Apart from the fact that prevention and reuse take priority over recycling according to the waste hierarchy, it is clear that increasing recycling does not resolve the issue.

Amendment   5

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) Consumption levels of plastic carrier bags vary considerably across the Union due to differences in consumption habits, environmental awareness, as well as the effectiveness of policy measures taken by Member States. Some Member States have managed to reduce consumption levels of plastic carrier bags significantly, with the average consumption level in the seven best performing Member States amounting to only 20% of the EU average consumption.

(4) Consumption levels of plastic carrier bags vary considerably across the Union due not only to differences in consumption habits and environmental awareness, but mainly to the degree of effectiveness of policy measures taken by Member States. Some Member States have managed to reduce consumption levels of plastic carrier bags significantly, with the average consumption level in the seven best performing Member States amounting to only 20% of the EU average consumption. Union-wide reduction targets should be set compared to the average consumption of plastic carrier bags across the Union so as to take account of reductions already achieved by certain Member States.

Amendment   6

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4a) The data available concerning the use of plastic carrier bags in the Union clearly show that consumption is low or has been reduced in those Member States where economic operators do not make plastic carrier bags available free of charge, but instead subject to a small payment.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4b) Furthermore, consumer information has been shown to play a decisive part in achieving any goals regarding reduced plastic bag consumption. It is therefore necessary for efforts to be made at institutional level to heighten awareness of the environmental impact of plastic bags and do away with the current perception of plastic as a harmless, cheap and intrinsically worthless commodity.

Amendment   8

Proposal for a directive

Recital 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5) To promote similar reductions of the average consumption level of lightweight plastic carrier bags, Member States should take measures to reduce the consumption of plastic carrier bags with a thickness below 50 microns in line with the overall objectives of the Union’s waste policy and the Union's waste hierarchy as provided for in Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives7. Such reduction measures should take account of current consumption levels of plastic carrier bags in individual Member States, with higher levels requiring more ambitious efforts. To monitor progress in reducing the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags national authorities will provide data on their use under article 17 of Directive 94/62/EC.

(5) To promote similar reductions of the average consumption level of lightweight plastic carrier bags, Member States should take measures to significantly reduce the consumption of plastic carrier bags with a thickness below 50 microns with very limited reusability in line with the overall objectives of the Union’s waste policy and the Union's waste hierarchy as provided for in Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives7. Such reduction measures should take account of current consumption levels of plastic carrier bags in individual Member States, with higher levels requiring more ambitious efforts. To monitor progress in reducing the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags national authorities will provide data on their use under article 17 of Directive 94/62/EC.

______________

_________________

7 OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3.

7 OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3.

Amendment   9

Proposal for a directive

Recital 5 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(5a) Measures to be taken by Member States should involve the use of economic instruments such as pricing, which has proved particularly effective to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags. Member States should ensure that economic operators selling food do not provide plastic carrier bags other than very lightweight plastic carrier bags or alternatives to such very lightweight plastic carrier bags, free of charge at the point of sale of goods or products. Member States should also encourage economic operators selling solely non-food items not to provide plastic carrier bags free of charge at the point of sale of goods or products.

Amendment   10

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6) Measures to be taken by Member States may involve the use of economic instruments such as taxes and levies, which have proved particularly effective to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags, as well as marketing restrictions such as bans in derogation of Article 18 of Directive 94/62/EC, subject to the requirements laid down in Articles 34 to 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

(6) Member States should also be able to use economic instruments such as taxes and levies, as well as marketing restrictions such as bans in derogation of Article 18 of Directive 94/62/EC, subject to the requirements laid down in Articles 34 to 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6a) Plastic carrier bags used to wrap humid, loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy and plastic bags used to hold unpackaged prepared foodstuffs are required for food hygiene and should therefore be exempt from the scope of this Directive.

Amendment   12

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6b) Very lightweight plastic carrier bags are routinely used to purchase dry, loose unpackaged foods such as fruits, vegetables or confectionery. The use of very lightweight plastic carrier bags for such purposes helps prevent food wastage, since it enables consumers to purchase the exact amount required rather than a fixed pre-packaged quantity, and since it allows the withdrawal of a product that is no longer fit for consumption specifically without needing to discard entire pre-packaged packages. Nevertheless, very lightweight plastic carrier bags made of conventional plastics are a particular problem with regard to littering.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6c) Plastic carrier bags made of biodegradable and compostable materials are less harmful to the environment than conventional plastic carrier bags. Where the use of plastic carrier bags provides important benefits, namely where very lightweight plastic carrier bags are used for dry loose, unpackaged foods such as fruits, vegetables and confectionery, those conventional very lightweight plastic carrier bags should be gradually replaced by carrier bags made of recycled paper, or by very lightweight plastic carrier bags that are biodegradable and compostable. Where the use of plastic carrier bags should be reduced, namely the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags, the use of such bags made of biodegradable and compostable materials should also fall under the general reduction target. However, Member States with separate collection of bio-waste should be allowed to reduce the price of biodegradable and compostable lightweight plastic carrier bags.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 d (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6d) Education programmes aimed at consumers in general, as well as at children in particular, should play a particular role in the reduction of the use of plastic bags. Those education programmes should be implemented both by Member States as well as by producers and retailers at the point of sale of goods and products.

Amendment   15

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 e (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6e) The essential requirements with regard to packaging that is recoverable in the form of composting should be amended so as to ensure that a European standard for garden composting is developed. The essential requirements with regard to biodegradable packaging should be amended so as to ensure that only materials that are fully biodegraded are considered to be biodegradable.

Amendment   16

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 f (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6f) European Standard EN 13432 on “Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation - Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging” lays down the characteristics that a material must possess in order to be considered ‘compostable’, namely that it can be recycled through a process of organic recovery comprised of composting and anaerobic digestion. The Commission should ask the European Committee for Standardization to develop a separate standard for garden composting.

Amendment  17

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 g (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6g) Some plastic materials are referred to as “oxo-biodegradable” by their manufacturers. In such plastic materials, "oxo-biodegradable" additives, typically metal salts, are incorporated into conventional plastics. As a result of the oxidation of those additives, the plastic materials fragment into small particles, which remain in the environment. It is thus misleading to refer to such plastic materials as “biodegradable”. Fragmentation transforms visible littering of items such as plastic carrier bags into invisible littering by secondary microplastics. This is not a solution to the waste problem, but rather increases pollution of the environment by those plastic materials. Such plastic materials should therefore not be used for plastic packaging.

Justification

It should be clarified that "oxo-biodegrable" plastics - which in fact do not degrade but only fragment into secondary microplastics - should disqualify as a packaging material. Fragmentation of plastics into secondary microplastics increases pollution of the environment by plastics and should therefore not be allowed. This is in line with the position by the Environment Committee in the context of the European strategy on plastic waste.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 h (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6h) The use of substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction and of substances that are endocrine disrupters should be phased out from packaging material so as to avoid unnecessary exposure of humans to such substances and to avoid that such substances enter the environment during the waste phase.

Justification

CMR substances and endocrine disrupters are substances of very high concern. They should be replaced wherever possible. Their substitution in plastic packaging is in line with the position by the Environment Committee in the context of the European strategy on plastic waste. The Packaging Directive already sets limit values for heavy metals.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a directive

Recital 6 i (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(6i) Harmful substances, particularly hormone-disrupting chemicals, in plastic bags, should be entirely banned to ensure a good level of protection for the environment and human health.

Amendment  20

Proposal for a directive

Recital 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(7) Measures to reduce the consumption of plastic carrier bags should not lead to an overall increase in the generation of packaging.

(7) Measures to reduce the consumption of plastic carrier bags should lead to a sustained reduction in the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags and should not lead to an overall increase in the generation of packaging.

Amendment  21

Proposal for a directive

Recital 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(7a) In order to ensure Union-wide recognition of indications (mark, feature or colour code) for biodegradable and compostable bags, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission in respect of defining such indications. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council.

Amendment  22

Proposal for a directive

Recital 8 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8a) In order not to impede the functioning of the internal market, the same conditions should apply throughout the Union in respect of the materials used. Differences in the way certain materials are dealt with in certain Member States are detrimental to recycling and trade.

Amendment  23

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 –point -1 a (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 3 – point 2a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-1 a) In Article 3, a new point -2a is inserted:

 

'-2a. "plastic carrier bags" shall mean bags, with or without handle, made of plastic materials as defined in point (1) of Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 10/2011, which are supplied to consumers at the point of sale of goods or products for the purpose of carrying goods. Plastic carrier bags that are necessary for food hygiene to wrap humid, loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy and plastic bags to hold unpackaged prepared foodstuffs shall not be considered as plastic carrier bags for the purposes of this Directive.'

Amendment   24

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 1

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 3 – point 2a

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

'2a. "lightweight plastic carrier bags” shall mean bags made of plastic materials as defined in Article 3(1) of Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011* with a wall thickness below 50 microns and which are supplied to consumers at the point of sale of goods or products

'2a. "lightweight plastic carrier bags” shall mean bags made of plastic materials as defined in Article 3(1) of Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011* with a wall thickness below 50 microns and which are supplied to consumers at the point of sale of goods or products, except very lightweight plastic carrier bags;

_________________

_____________________

* OJ L 12, 15.01.2011, p. 1.'

* OJ L 12, 15.01.2011, p. 1.'

Amendment   25

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 –point 1 a (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 3 – point 2b

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1 a) In Article 3, a new point 2b is inserted:

 

'2b. "very lightweight plastic carrier bags" shall mean bags made of plastic materials as defined in point (1) of Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 with a wall thickness below 10 microns.'

Amendment  26

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 1 b (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 3 – point 2 c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1b) In Article 3, a new point 2c is inserted:

 

2c. “oxo-fragmentable plastic materials” shall mean plastic materials that include additives that catalyze the fragmentation of the plastic material into micro-fragments of plastic material.

Justification

A clear definition of oxo-fragmentable plastic materials should be given.

Amendment  27

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 1 c (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 3 – point 2 d (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1c) In Article 3, a new point 2d is inserted:

 

2d. “bio-waste” shall mean biodegradable garden and park waste, food and kitchen waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises, and comparable waste from food processing plants. It does not include forestry or agricultural residues, manure, sewage sludge, or other biodegradable waste such as natural textiles, paper or processed wood. It also excludes those by-products of food production that never become waste;

Justification

A clear definition of bio-based materials should be given. This definition is taken from the Commission's Green Paper on the management of bio-waste in the European Union (COM(2008) 811 final.

Amendment  28

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 1 d (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 3 – point 2 e (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1d) In Article 3, a new point 2e is inserted:

 

'2e. "substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction" shall mean substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction of category 1A or 1B in accordance with Part 3 of Annex VI to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council*.

 

______________

 

* Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1)’

Justification

A clear definition of CMR substances addressed in this legislation should be given.

Amendment  29

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 1 e (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 3 – point 2 f (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1e) In Article 3, a new point 2f is inserted:

 

'2f. "endocrine disrupters" shall mean substances having endocrine disrupting properties for which there is scientific evidence of possible serious effects to human health or which are identified in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 59 of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council *, or which are identified according to Commission Recommendation [.../.../EU] **.

 

________________

 

* Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1).

 

** Commission Recommendation [.../.../EU] of ... on criteria for the identification of endocrine disrupters (OJ L...).'

Justification

A clear definition of endocrine disrupting substances addressed in this legislation should be given. There should be three ways for a substance to be identified as an endocrine disrupter: based on scientific evidence of possible serious effects to human health, based on identification under REACH (which is authoritative, but far from comprehensive), or based on the Commission Recommendation on this matter, which the Commission is obliged to adopt by the end of this year pursuant to the Regulations on Plant Protection Products and Biocides respectively.

Amendment  30

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point -2 (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph -1a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(-2) In Article 4, the following paragraph -1a is inserted:

 

'-1a. Member State shall ensure that packaging is manufactured in such a way that it does not contain substances in concentrations above 0,01% that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction or that are endocrine disrupters. Member States shall ensure that packaging is manufactured in such a way that it does not contain “oxo-fragmentable” plastic materials. Those measures shall be achieved by ...*.

 

________________

 

*OJ: please insert the datetwo years after the entry into force of this Directive. '

Justification

There should be a phase-out of CMR substances and of endocrine disrupters from packaging material in general. There should also be a clear phase-out of oxo-fragmentable plastic materials from packaging material. Such phase-outs were demanded by the Environment Committee in the context of the European strategy on plastic waste.

Amendment   31

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph 1a –subparagraph 1

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1a. Member States shall take measures to achieve a reduction in the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags on their territory within two years of entry into force of this Directive.

1a. Member States shall take measures to achieve a sustained reduction in the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags on their territory of at least

 

- 50% by ...*., and

 

- 80% by ...**.,

 

as compared to the average consumption in the Union in 2010, respectively.

 

________________

 

*OJ: please insert the date – three years after the entry into force of this Directive.

 

** OJ: please insert the date – five years after the entry into force of this Directive '

Amendment 32

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph 1a subparagraph 2 (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Member States shall take measures to ensure that economic operators selling food do not provide plastic carrier bags free of charge, except for very lightweight plastic carrier bags, or alternatives to such very lightweight plastic carrier bags as referred to in paragraph 1c of this Article.

 

Member States shall ensure that economic operators selling food charge a price for lightweight plastic carrier bags that is effective and proportionate so as to achieve the reduction targets referred to in paragraph 1a of this Article. Member States shall ensure that economic operators selling food charge at least the same price for thicker plastic carrier bags, and that economic operators do not replace lightweight plastic carrier bags by very lightweight plastic carrier bags at the point of sale. Member States shall take such measures by ...*.

 

Member States that have set up separate collection for bio-waste may require economic operators selling food to reduce the price by up to 50% for lightweight plastic carrier bags that are biodegradable and compostable.

 

Member States shall encourage economic operators selling non-food items to charge for plastic carrier bags to an extent that is effective and proportionate so as to achieve the reduction targets referred to in paragraph 1a of this Article.

 

________________

 

*OJ: please insert the date – two years after the entry into force of this Directive.

Amendment 33

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph 1a – subparagraph 3 (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Member States shall take measures to ensure that very lightweight plastic carrier bags used to wrap dry loose, unpackaged foods such as fruits, vegetables and confectionery are replaced progressively by carrier bags that are made of recycled paper, or by very lightweight plastic carrier bags that are biodegradable and compostable. Member States shall achieve a replacement rate of 50% by ...* and of 100% by ...**.

 

________________

 

*OJ: please insert the date – three years after the entry into force of this Directive.

 

** OJ: please insert the date – five years after entry into force of this Directive.

Amendment  34

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph 1a – subparagraph 2

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

These measures may include the use of national reduction targets, economic instruments as well as marketing restrictions in derogation from Article 18 of this Directive.

1b. Member States may use other economic instruments as well as maintain or introduce marketing restrictions in derogation from Article 18 of this Directive. Such measures shall not, however, constitute a means of arbitrary discrimination or a disguised restriction on trade between Member States.

Amendment  35

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2 a (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph 1c (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2a) In Article 4, the following paragraph 1c is inserted:

 

'1c. Consumers shall be allowed by retailers to refuse and to leave at the point of sale any packaging they consider superfluous, in particular as regard to carrier bags. Retailers shall ensure that such packaging is either reused or recycled.'

Amendment  36

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2 d (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph 1d (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2d) In Article 4, the following paragraph 1d is inserted:

 

'1d. The Commission and the Member States shall, at least during the first year after the entry into force of the directive, promote public information and awareness campaigns concerning the adverse environmental impact of excessive use of conventional plastic bags.'

Amendment  37

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2 c (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph 1e (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2e) In Article 4, the following paragraph 1e is inserted:

 

'1e. Measures to reduce the use of bags may be accompanied by ecological design measures such as restricting the space that may be taken up by printed advertisements or brand names, so as to reduce the use of environmentally harmful inks and dyes. This shall not apply to messages or warnings issued by certain Member States about the environmental impact of using plastic bags.'

Amendment  38

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2 d (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 4 – paragraph 1f (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2d) In Article 4, the following paragraph 1f is inserted:

 

'1f. Member States shall ensure that the measures to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags do not lead to an overall increase in the generation of packaging.'

Amendment  39

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2 e (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 6a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2e) A new article 6a is inserted:

 

'Article 6a

 

If bags are biodegradable and compostable, this shall be clearly indicated on the bag with a mark, feature or colour code. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts to define such indications in order to ensure Union-wide recognition. Member States may adopt measures to indicate other characteristics, such as reusability, recyclability and degradability.

Amendment  40

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2f (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Article 20a (new)

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2f) A new article 20a is inserted:

 

'Article 20a

 

Exercise of delegation

 

1. The power to adopt delegated acts is conferred on the Commission subject to the conditions laid down in this Article.

 

2. The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 6a shall be conferred on the Commission for an indeterminate period of time from ...*.

 

3. The delegation of power referred to in f Article 6a may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.

 

4. As soon as it adopts a delegated act, the Commission shall notify it simultaneously to the European Parliament and to the Council.

 

5. A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 6a shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.

 

________________

 

* OJ: please insert the date of entry into force of the amending directive. '

Amendment  41

Proposal for a directive

Article 1 – point 2 g (new)

Directive 94/62/EC

Annex II – paragraph 3 – point c and d

 

Present text

Amendment

 

(2g) In Annex II, points (c) and (d) of paragraph 3 are amended as follows:

(c) Packaging recoverable in the form of composting

(c) Packaging recoverable in the form of composting

Packaging waste processed for the purpose of composting shall be of such a biodegradable nature that it should not hinder the separate collection and the composting process or activity into which it is introduced.

Packaging waste processed for the purpose of composting shall be of such a biodegradable nature that it should be fully compatible with the separate collection and the industrial and/or garden composting process or activity into which it is introduced.

(d) Biodegradable packaging

(d) Biodegradable packaging

Biodegradable packaging waste shall be of such a nature that it is capable of undergoing physical, chemical, thermal or biological decomposition such that most of the finished compost ultimately decomposes into carbon dioxide, biomass and water.

Biodegradable packaging waste shall be of such a nature that it is capable of undergoing physical, chemical, thermal or biological decomposition such that all of the material ultimately decomposes into carbon dioxide, biomass and water.'

Amendment  42

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by twelve months after the entry into force of this Directive. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions.

Member States shall amend their national legislation if necessary and shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by twelve months after the entry into force of this Directive. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions.

Amendment  43

Proposal for a directive

Article 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 2 a

 

By ... * the Commission shall review the effectiveness of this Directive and assess whether further measures need to be taken, to be accompanied, if appropriate, by a legislative proposal.

 

________________

 

*OJ: please insert the date – six years after the entry into force of this Directive.'

(1)

Not yet published in the OJ.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

1. Background

The consumption of plastic bags in the European Union is excessive. Every year nearly 100 billion plastic bags are consumed, a number expected to grow to 111 billion plastic bags by 2020 if no action is taken. This means that on average every European uses 200 plastic bags over the course of a year. If it takes you 5 minutes to read this explanatory statement, 1 million plastic carrier bags will have been consumed in the EU in the meantime.

However, 89% of the plastics bags are often only used a single time before ending up as waste. Whereas thicker plastic bags destined for reuse are available on the market, consumers in many Member States continue to use throw-away plastic bags because they receive them for free. Retailers hand them out for free as lightweight plastic bags, mainly produced in Asia, are very cheap.

2. Negative consequences to society and environment

This excessive consumption of single-use plastic bags is not only very inefficient from a resource perspective but also inflicts adverse consequences on the environment. Each year 8 billion plastic bags end up as litter in the EU environment including the seas. Despite rising prices on resources, current recycling rates of plastic bags are estimated to be only at 6,6% and are unlikely to increase considerably in the coming years. Due to their thinness and light weight, plastic carrier bags do not have a high recycling value. More recycling of plastic carrier bags will not resolve the problem. While 39% of plastic bags are incinerated, every second plastic bag is sent to landfills from where they can be blown by the wind into the environment. Landfill is generally seen to be the worst option. And prevention is clearly the best.

Once in the environment, plastic bags can last for hundreds of years, gradually being fragmented to smaller and smaller parts, and carried across national borders and maritime boundaries. Today, plastic bags together with plastic bottles make up the vast majority of plastic waste in European seas: plastic debris constitutes more than 70% of all waste. In Britain, on average, 72 shopping bags wash up on every mile of beach. The implications for the marine fauna are dramatic, especially among marine mammals. Particles of plastic waste also have been found in more than 90% of birds in the North Sea. At the same time, plastic waste has negative consequences for touristic areas such as natural parks where the clean-up efforts are a significant economic burden to local communities.

3. A common challenge requires a common approach

The over-consumption of plastic bags, inefficient resource-use and transnational pollution of the environment are a common challenge to all Member States of the EU and demand a common approach. A consultation by the European Commission in 2011 showed strong support by European citizens to address the issue of single-use plastic bags at European level.

Unfortunately, the proposal put forward by the European Commission fails to take a European approach. It merely suggests that each Member State should address the issue of plastic bags unilaterally without any target. This not only ignores the clear request by the European citizens but also stands in stark contrast to the Commission's own impact assessment and the underlying studies. In fact, the study by Bio-Intelligence Service discarded the option of requiring Member States to set up national prevention targets from further assessment as it was found to be overly complicated, stating that the achievement of such targets would be uncertain and highly dependent on the political commitment of Member States(1).

Instead, the study and the impact assessment considered that the most effective approach would be to combine a waste prevention target at EU level with pricing measures at national level that would make it obligatory for shops to charge for plastic carrier bags. It is thus difficult to understand why the Commission disregarded the findings of its own impact assessment so blatantly following inter-service consultation by neither adopting a reduction target nor a compulsory pricing mechanism.

That said, your rapporteur welcomes the Commission proposal as a stepping stone for meaningful legislative action against the wasteful use of plastic carrier bags. She particularly welcomes the solid preparatory work done by the Commission and intends to base her approach on the preferred option identified in the impact assessment (EU reduction target and economic measures) that in the words of the Commission "has the highest potential to deliver ambitious environmental results, while achieving positive economic impacts, limiting negative effects on employment, ensuring public acceptance, and contributing to wider awareness on sustainable consumption".

4. Introducing a European reduction target on plastic bags

As stated in the impact assessment prepared by the Commission, one key element to address the over-use of plastic bags is to introduce an EU-wide reduction target for the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Within three years of the entry into force of this directive, Member States should achieve a reduction of at least 50% in the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags; and within five years, a reduction of at least 80%. The target should be based on the average consumption in the EU in 2010. The overall target would be applicable to all Member States, but would demand more action in those Member States that have not yet taken action to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags.

5. Putting a price on carrier bags

It has been shown that making consumers pay for plastic bags can reduce consumption dramatically almost overnight. One central factor stands out across European countries that have already achieved a comparatively low consumption level of carrier bags: plastic bags are not handed out for free. This measure should apply across the EU: under the new directive Member States should ensure that economic operators selling food do not provide plastic carrier bags free or charge; however, it should not apply to bags which are necessary for food hygiene or to very lightweight plastic bags or their alternatives (see point 6). Furthermorem Member States should encourage economic operators selling solely non-food items not to provide plastic carrier bags free of charge. As far as bio-based compostable lightweight carrier bags are concerned, Member States who have established separate collection of bio-waste should be allowed to reduce the charge (see point 7).

6. Exempting bags necessary for food hygiene and replacing very lightweight plastic bags by more sustainable bags

Plastic carrier bags that are necessary for food hygiene to wrap humid, loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy and plastic bags to hold unpackaged prepared foodstuffs should be exempted from the scope of this Directive.

Furthermore, your rapporteur suggests drawing up a distinction between lightweight plastic carrier bags (10–49 microns) and very lightweight plastic carrier bags (below 10 microns). Very lightweight plastic carrier bags are routinely used to purchase dry, loose unpackaged foods such as fruits, vegetables or confectionery. The use of very lightweight plastic carrier bags for such purposes helps prevent food wastage, since it enables consumers to purchase the exact amount required rather than a fixed pre-packaged quantity, and since it allows the withdrawal of a product that is no longer fit for consumption specifically without needing to discard entire pre-packaged packages. However, very lightweight plastic carrier bags made of conventional plastics are a particular problem with regard to littering, therefore they should be gradually replaced by carrier bags made of recycled paper, or by very lightweight plastic carrier bags which are biodegradable and compostable.

7. Are biodegradable and compostable plastics the solution?

Biodegradable and compostable plastic materials are sometimes presented as a solution to the environmental problem of plastic carrier bags. While they pose less of a problem when they end up in the environment as compared to conventional plastics, they are no solution to littering, and resorting to biodegradable and compostable plastics does not address the throw-away mentality that underlies excessive consumption of plastic bags, and may even wrongly legitimize such wasteful use.

Furthermore, they also need to be treated properly, which requires separate collection of bio-waste to start with. To acknowledge the potential benefits of biodegradable and compostable plastic materials over conventional plastics while addressing overconsumption at the same time, your rapporteur suggests that Member States that have established separate collection of bio-waste may require economic operators selling food to reduce the price charged for biodegradable lightweight plastic carrier bags by up to 50% as compared to conventional ones.

Moreover, the requirements with regard to biodegradable packaging should be modified in order to ensure that only materials that are fully biodegradable are considered biodegradable. Furthermore, the essential requirements with regard to packaging recoverable in the form of composting should also be amended in order to ensure that a European standard for garden composting in developed.

8. Phasing out false friends: "oxo-biodegradable" plastics

“Oxo-biodegradable” plastics do not biodegrade in the natural environment, but only fragment into secondary microplastics. It is thus misleading to refer to such materials as “biodegradable”. Fragmentation converts visible littering into invisible littering. This is not a solution to the waste problem, but rather enhances pollution of the environment by plastic materials. "Oxo-biodegradable" plastics should therefore not be used as a packaging material.

9. Substituting hazardous substances for packaging as a whole

Your rapporteur suggests seizing the opportunity of the amendment of the packaging directive to not only address prevention in a quantitative manner but also in a qualitative manner. In order to reduce the exposure of European citizens to dangerous substances and to avoid that such substances enter the environment during the waste phase, packaging as a whole should no longer contain substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction or that are endocrine disrupters.

10. Allowing Member States to go further

While a common European approach is needed to address the overconsumption of plastic bags, some Member States may want to go beyond common reduction targets in the EU. Member States should therefore be allowed to make use of economic instruments such as taxes as well as marketing restrictions, as proposed by the Commission.

(1)

Bio Intelligence Service, 2011. Assessment of impacts of options to reduce the use of single-use plastic carrier bags. Final Report, (see page 78) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/packaging/pdf/report_options.pdf


PROCEDURE

Title

Amendment to Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags

References

COM(2013)0761 – C7-0392/2013 – 2013/0371(COD)

Date submitted to Parliament

4.11.2013

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

ENVI

18.11.2013

 

 

 

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)

       Date announced in plenary

ECON

18.11.2013

ITRE

18.11.2013

IMCO

18.11.2013

 

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

ECON

19.11.2013

ITRE

25.2.2014

IMCO

17.12.2013

 

Rapporteur(s)

       Date appointed

Margrete Auken

28.11.2013

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

22.1.2014

 

 

 

Date adopted

10.3.2014

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

44

10

6

Members present for the final vote

Elena Oana Antonescu, Sergio Berlato, Franco Bonanini, Biljana Borzan, Martin Callanan, Chris Davies, Bas Eickhout, Edite Estrela, Jill Evans, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Elisabetta Gardini, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Françoise Grossetête, Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines, Satu Hassi, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Martin Kastler, Christa Klaß, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Claus Larsen-Jensen, Jo Leinen, Peter Liese, Zofija Mazej Kukovič, Linda McAvan, Andrés Perelló Rodríguez, Mario Pirillo, Anna Rosbach, Oreste Rossi, Carl Schlyter, Horst Schnellhardt, Richard Seeber, Dubravka Šuica, Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu, Thomas Ulmer, Glenis Willmott, Sabine Wils, Marina Yannakoudakis

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Margrete Auken, Inés Ayala Sender, Nikos Chrysogelos, Birgit Collin-Langen, Vicky Ford, Julie Girling, Jutta Haug, Romana Jordan, Filip Kaczmarek, Judith A. Merkies, Justas Vincas Paleckis, Marit Paulsen, Vittorio Prodi, Rebecca Taylor, Marita Ulvskog, Vladimir Urutchev

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Fabrizio Bertot, Fiona Hall, Kent Johansson, Bernd Lange, Erminia Mazzoni, Emma McClarkin

Date tabled

14.3.2014

Last updated: 3 April 2014Legal notice