Czech Republic Says Goodbye to Free Plastic Bags

While it’s common to pay for them in supermarkets, it will soon be illegal for any store or boutique to distribute bags for free

Get ready to use your síťovka—or another such reusable option—everywhere; unless of course you want to shell out for plastic.

Metro.cz is reporting that legislation has passed that makes the distribution of free plastic bags by markets and other stores in the Czech Republic illegal.

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Earlier this summer, France became one of the world’s few countries to enact a ban on plastic bags, prohibiting the use of single-use “common” plastic bags in supermarkets and other stores.

At the time it seemed unlikely that the Czech Republic, where each citizen annually uses almost 50% more plastic bags than the EU average, would follow suit.

Paying for a shopping bag is something that most of us are already accustomed to: currently, in supermarkets, small plastic bags usually sell for 1 CZK. 

But in boutiques and other businesses, plastic bags are in many cases still free. From next year, this will no longer be the case. 

Also read:  Czech Republic prolongs border checks with Austria and Germany until April 24

The amendment relates to plastic bags with a thickness from 15 to 50 microns. The thin pastry bags also used for fruit, vegetables, and bread will still be free.

Environment Minister Richard Brabec told the publication that the price of bags is not set by law, but can be determined by retailers.

Lawmakers will push the bill through as soon as possible in order to face fines from the EU of least 54 million CZK.

Each Czech citizen reportedly consumes 300 plastic bags a year according to a European Commission study; the EU aims to reduce Czech consumption of plastic bags to 90 per year by 2019.


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