Aug 19, 2019

There is already an end date for transparent plastic bags for fruit and vegetables

Parliament's Environment Committee this Tuesday approved a ban on giving customers the ultra-light plastic bags commonly used for fruit, vegetables and bread. The measure will still be voted on Friday in general.

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The ban will enter into force in the middle of 2023, according to the Ecologist Party "The Greens".

The Parliamentary Environment Committee has extended the deadline initially set in the proposal voted on in April in general - which was July 2020 - to meet the demands of the distribution companies that had asked for more time.

According to TSF, Representative Heloísa Apolónia, the PS has finally proposed and managed to extend the deadline for entry into force to July 2023.

The proposal ends with transparent plastic bags, common in fruit and vegetable sections, as well as disposable cuvettes, "usually wrapped in plastic or expanded polystyrene" for those products.

By 2023, companies will have to find alternatives, and MEPs want sustainable materials to be used instead of plastics. Businesses will also have to adapt to consumers who want to bring their own bags to pack the bread or fruit and vegetables they buy.

Project with comprehensive application

The "Greens" party bill applies to "all commercial establishments selling bread, vegetables and fruit.

According to the environmentalist party's initiative, shops will have to have "alternatives for primary packaging of bread, fruit and vegetables sold in bulk".

If they do not comply with the provisions, the shops will be subject to fines, which will then be regulated by the government, with supervision by the Ministry of the Economy.

Heloísa Apolónia guarantees that companies now have plenty of time to adapt and find alternatives that already exist, be they paper bags instead of plastic or other biodegradable alternatives, "in addition to the own bag that the consumer can take with him every time he goes shopping", says TSF.

In spite of this postponement of three years to implement the measure in relation to what the ENP called for, Heloísa Apolónia considers that it was a victory to approve the legislation. "It puts economic agents [traders and industry] in a position to think about alternatives," she said. "In the face of the drama of the hyper-use of plastics in commerce, it is necessary to awaken the awareness of economic agents, consumers and political power," she added.

According to the party's proposal, it also advocates the promotion of campaigns for consumers, encouraging them to bring disposable bags from home to serve bread, fruit or vegetables, and for shopkeepers to adapt to the changes.

"The Greens" in a communiqué say they want to affect the supply of plastic to consumers and increase recycling levels.