The Estonian Riigikogu European Union affairs committee decided to support, with some conditions, the European Union draft directive that changes the currently valid package and package waste directive, in order to reduce the use of thin plastic bags, Public Broadcasting reports.
"We are for the reduction of the use of plastic bags but the measures to be implemented have to be reasonable and cannot cause additional problems for consumers or retailers. If for example, thin plastic bags meant for fruits and vegetables were replaced with paper bags, it may be a bigger burden for the nature than plastic bags," committee chairman Arto Aas said.
In Europe, an average of 189 plastic bags per capita a year are used while the European Commission claims that Estonia used 466 plastic bags per capita in 2010. Estonian Retailers Union analysis claims that Estonian people use 38 plastic carrier bags for which they pay and 171 free packaging plastic bags a year.
"Currently the statistics of using plastic packages isn’t trustworthy enough and the scope of implementing the directive needs to be more detailed. Before the directive comes in force, we must know, the use of which plastic bags we restrict, how many of them are in circulation now and what the alternative to plastic bags is," said Aas.
He added that Estonia needs at least three years for transition while the current draft directive prescribes two years. Aas added that the problem doesn’t so much lie in plastic bags but them becoming garbage that is dangerous for environment and if the plastic bags were collected and recycled, the ecological footprint could be reduced.