The purpose of the Act amending the Packaging Act is to transpose Directive (EU) 2015/720 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 94/62/EC as regards reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags into Estonian law, and set objectives and provide measures to achieve a decrease in consumption.
Act amending the Packaging Act
The draft Act will transpose Directive (EU) 2015/720 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 94/62/EC as regards reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags into Estonian law. Reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags is the general trend in the European Union.
According to the practice of other Member States, charging for plastic carrier bags has proven to be the most effective measure to reduce their consumption. According to the draft Act, the requirement that lightweight and very lightweight plastic carrier bags shall not be provided free of charge at points of sale (except for hygiene purposes and for the packaging of bulk food products, if it would help to prevent the wasting of food) shall be established. The requirement shall be effective from 31 December 2018. The price shall be decided by the point of sale. The aim of this requirement is to prevent consumer from being able to take any amount of very lightweight plastic carrier bags free of charge. The amendment to the Act is not intended to ban lightweight and very lightweight carrier bags, but to stop their provision to consumers free of charge, and to set a selling price.
The requirement stating that alternatives to lightweight plastic carrier bags should be offered to consumers is set out. It is laid down that no more free lightweight or very lightweight plastic carrier bags may be provided to consumers at the point of sale of products after 31 December 2018, except for very lightweight plastic carrier bags used for hygiene purposes or provided as primary packaging for bulk loose food. The recommendation to avoid the marketing of plastic carrier bags which decompose under the effect of oxidants is set out, as consumers often regard them as biodegradable bags, which they are not, and therefore cannot be sorted among biodegradable waste.
In order to obtain information on the consumption and objectives of reducing the consumption of plastic carrier bags, the draft Act imposes on points of sale the obligation to keep records thereof. The information to be submitted to the Packaging Register is updated to reflect the consumption of lightweight and very lightweight plastic carrier bags.
It is laid down that the Ministry of the Environment shall analyse by 31 March 2018 the efficiency and effectiveness of the measures, given the fact that the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags shall have to be less than 90 lightweight plastic carrier bags per person per year by 31 December 2019 and less than 40 lightweight plastic carrier bags per person per year by 31 December 2025. It shall also propose measures to amend the legislative act, if appropriate.