The German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deutschland, HDE) has presented a proposal to reduce the usage of plastic bags in Germany. This initiative is a response to the European packaging directive, which was passed in April this year and has to be implemented into national law by November 2016. In Germany the per capita consumption amounts to 71 plastic bags annually and has to be reduced to a maximum of 40 bags in the year 2025 according to the EU Directive.
The HDE-draft contains the following main points:
- As of next year plastic bags are to be sold at a minimum price of 20 cent, which does not affect smaller bags such as for fresh goods in supermarkets.
- However, firms should continue to decide independently on the concrete pricing of bags.
Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, welcomes the proposal of the industry and commented on the EU-directive as follows: “We want to fulfill the new EU objectives. For this I rely upon the cooperation of the retail sector proposing self-regulation. (…) There are many indicators for us to check whether voluntary measures can be expanded. I will discuss this matter with environmental and consumer associations, federal states as well as relevant economic actors. Such a measure might include self-regulation of the retail industry to extend charges for plastic bags.”