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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

Texts adopted
PDF 418kWORD 88k
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 - Strasbourg Final edition
Reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags ***I
P7_TA(2014)0417A7-0174/2014
Resolution
 Consolidated text

European Parliament legislative resolution of 16 April 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)) (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 the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 3 April 2014(2) ,

–  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.

(1) Not yet published in the Official Journal.
(2) Not yet published in the Official Journal.


Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 16 April 2014 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2014/.../EU 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
(Text with EEA relevance)
P7_TC1-COD(2013)0371

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 114 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1) ,

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2) ,

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(3) ,

Whereas:

(1)  Directive 94/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(4) was adopted in order to prevent or reduce the impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment. Although plastic carrier bags constitute packaging within the meaning of that Directive, its provisions do not contain specific measures relating to the consumption of such bags.

(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 results in environmental pollution and aggravates the widespread problem of marine litter that threatens marine in water bodies, threatening aquatic eco-systems worldwide. [Am. 1]

(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. [Am. 2]

(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 frequently re-used reusable than thicker plastic carrier bags and , 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-ecosystems . [Am. 3]

(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. [Am. 4]

(3b)  According to the waste hierarchy prevention comes first. Therefore, an EU-wide reduction target has been defined. However, plastic carrier bags serve several purposes and they will still be used in the future. In order to ensure that the needed plastic carrier bags will not end up in the environment, the infrastructure for waste management – especially recycling – should be expanded and consumers should be informed about proper waste disposal. [Am. 46]

(4)  Consumption levels of plastic carrier bags vary considerably across the Union due not only to differences in consumption habits, and environmental awareness, as well as the 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. EU-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. [Am. 5]

(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. [Am. 6]

(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. [Am. 7]

(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 (5) . 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 in accordance with Article 17 of Directive 94/62/EC. [Am. 8]

(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. [Am. 9]

(6)  Measures to be taken by Member States may involve the should also be able to 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 ('TFEU'). [Am. 10]

(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. [Ams 47 and 51]

(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. [Am. 12]

(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. [Am. 13]

(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. [Am. 14]

(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. [Am. 15]

(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. [Am. 16]

(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. [Am. 17]

(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. [Am. 18]

(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. [Am. 19]

(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. [Am. 20]

(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 TFEU 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. [Am. 21]

(8)  The measures provided for by this Directive are consistent with the Communication from the Commission on the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe(6) and should contribute to actions against littering undertaken in accordance with Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (7) .

(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. [Am. 22]

(9)  Directive 94/62/EC should therefore be amended accordingly,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

Directive 94/62/EC is hereby amended as follows:

(1)  In Article 3, the following points are 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 Commission 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 Directi v e; [Ams 48 and 53]

   2a. "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 50 microns and which are supplied to consumers at the point of sale of goods or products, except very lightweight plastic carrier bag; [Am. 24]
   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; [Am. 25]
   2c. “oxo-fragmentable plastic materials” shall mean plastic materials that include additives that catalyse the fragmentation of the plastic material into micro-fragments of plastic material; [Am. 26]
   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; [Am. 27]
   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 ** ; [Am. 28]
   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] **** ;

_______________________

* Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 of 14 January 2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food (OJ L 12, 15.1.2011, p. 1).

** 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).

*** 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 C ...).' [Am. 29]

"

(2)  In Article 4, the following paragraphs are 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 … (8) .

[Am. 30]

   1a. Member States shall take measures to achieve a sustained reduction in the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags on their territory within two years of entry into force of this Directive. of at least:
   50 % by … (9) , and
   80 % by … (10) + ,

as compared to the average consumption in the Union in 2010, respectively. [Am. 31]

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 the sixth subparagraph.

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 the first subparagraph. 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 … (11) .

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 the first subparagraph. [Am. 32]

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 … (12) and of 100 % by … (13) + . [Am. 33]

These measures Member States may include the use of national reduction targets, other economic instruments as well as maintain or introduce marketing restrictions in derogation from Article 18. Such measures shall not, however, constitute a means of arbitrary discrimination or a disguised restriction on trade between Member States. [Am. 34]

Member States shall report on the effects of these measures on the overall formation of packaging waste when reporting to the Commission in accordance with Article 17.

   1b. 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. [Am. 35]
   1c. The Commission and the Member States shall, at least during the first year after the entry into force of this Directive, promote public information and awareness campaigns concerning the adverse environmental impact of excessive use of conventional plastic bags. [Am. 36]
   1d. 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.' [Am. 38]

"

(3)  The following Article is inserted: "

'Article 6a

Information to be indicated on plastic bags

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.' [Am. 39]

"

(4)  The following Article 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 … (14) .

3.  The delegation of power referred to in 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. ' [Am. 40]

"

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

'(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 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

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. ' [Am. 41]

"

Article 2

1.  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. [Am. 42]

When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made.

2.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

Article 2a

By … (15) 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. [Am. 43]

Article 3

This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union .

Article 4

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1)OJ C , , p. .
(2)OJ C , , p. .
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 16 April 2014.
(4)Directive 94/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste (OJ L 365, 31.12.1994, p. 10).
(5)Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives (OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3).
(6)Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe (COM(2011)0571 final).
(7)Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) (OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19).
(8) Two years after the entry into force of this Directive.
(9) Three years after the entry into force of this Directive.
(10)+ Five years after the entry into force of this Directive.
(11) Two years after the entry into force of this Directive.
(12) Three years after the entry into force of this Directive.
(13)+ Five years after entry into force of this Directive.
(14) Date of entry into force of the amending directive.
(15) Six years after the entry into force of this Directive.

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