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Parliamentary questions
13 April 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Struan Stevenson (ECR)

 Subject: Single-use plastic carrier bags: policy options

In its final report prepared for the Commission, BIO Intelligence Service (BIOIS) presented an assessment of different policy options aimed at reducing the use of single-use plastic carrier bags.

BIOIS distinguishes clearly between single- and multiple-use plastic carrier bags. The single-use variety is defined as having a ‘wall thickness of around 15 microns’, and the thickness of 15 microns consequently serves as a borderline between single- and multiple-use plastic carrier bags throughout the report.

The study concludes that single-use plastic carrier bags, mostly given away for free by retailers, are particularly harmful to the environment as they are not degradable and are discarded more frequently. However, when examining policy options with a view to addressing the associated environmental problems, the study does not distinguish between single- and multiple-use carrier bags. Instead, it recommends the introduction of a waste prevention target at the EU level combined with pricing measures at national level for all plastic carrier bags.

1. Does the Commission recognise the inconsistencies present throughout the report, particularly in terms of the legal measures recommended by BIOIS?

2. Does the Commission recognise that the conclusion reached by BIOIS is that only single-use plastic carrier bags are an environmental problem, and that a legislative measure covering all plastic carrier bags may consequently violate the EU principle of proportionality, i.e. necessity?

 OJ C 143 E, 23/05/2013
Last updated: 27 April 2012Legal notice