Czech Republic to Follow French Lead with Plastic Ban?

A ban on plastic products is unlikely in the Czech Republic, but a mandatory fee on all bags should take effect from 2018

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.

Over the weekend, news hit that the country passed a law that will ban plastic plates, cups, and utensils from 2020. Replacements will need to be made from biodegradable sources.

France is the first country in the world to enact such a ban on plastic utensils. But what about the Czech Republic, where each citizen uses an estimated 300 single-use plastic bags – almost 50% more than the EU average – every year?

According to Environment Minister Richard Brabec, the country is unlikely to follow suit with out-and-out bans on plastic products, reports

But the reduction of plastic waste is still a goal in the Czech Republic, and other laws are currently making their ways through government houses that seek to accomplish just that.

From June, an amendment to the Packaging Act has been under discussion that would make the distribution of free plastic bags by markets and other stores illegal.

Instead, shoppers will need to pay for all plastic bags. It’s something most are already accustomed to in the Czech Republic (the last major supermarket to not charge for bags, Globus, began charging in 2013), but from 2018 even small bags that might have previously been given away for free will instead be charged for.

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Under the new amendment, only extremely thin bags used for packing food products would still be available without cost to the consumer.

It’s not an initiative from the Czech Republic, however – the country has until November to agree on the amendment as part of an EU initiative. Failure to do so could result in a 54 million CZK fine, according to Dení

The EU-wide directive is designed to decrease the number of plastic bags consumed per year from its current 198 to 90 by 2019. 

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