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Retail Bags Report - List of Retail Bag Policies - Europe Corner of Tab Highlights
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Belgium

 Belgium

  • The country of Belgium passed a tax on plastic bags in 2007 along with a tax on plastic films (like dry cleaning bags), aluminum foil, and disposable cutlery. The tax went into effect July 1st, 2007.

Bulgaria

 Bulgaria

  • In March 2011, the Council of Ministers in Bulgaria implemented a new fee on plastic bags with a thickness of less than 15 microns. The fee will be implemented by October 1, 2011 and will gradually increase. From October until the end of 2011 the fee will be about 15cents (US) and will increase each year until it is about 75 cents (US). The fee will be collected and used for waste management projects. [added 05-23-11]

Denmark

 Denmark

  • In Denmark, there is a tax on plastic bags. Starting in 1994 with a tax on packaging materials that was charged to retailers and then progressing to a tax in 2005 on waste. This waste tax makes it more expensive to send waste to a landfill or to incinerate it.

France

  France

  • By 2010, plastic bags will be completely outlawed in France.
The French island, Corsica, banned plastic bags in large stores in 1999.

Paris

  Paris

  In January 2007, the city of Paris banned non-biodegradable plastic bags in large stores. This was done in order to help reduce pollution in the city.

Germany

 Germany

  • In Germany, all stores that provide plastic takeaway bags must pay a recycling fee to the government to help enhance recycling programs.

Ireland

 Ireland

  • In March of 2002, the Republic of Ireland passed a law enacting a tax on plastic bags. This tax, known widely as the PlasTax, caused a reduction in plastic bag use of 90%. Since 2002, the reduction has become markedly less (meaning that consumers are using more plastic bags) and so in 2007, the government opted to increase the tax.

Italy

 Italy

  • In May 2007, Italy passed a law banning non-biodegradable plastic bags starting in 2010. Previously, the country had a plastic bag tax from 1989 to 1992.

Macedonia

 Macedonia

  • Beginning in January 2009, plastic bags were banned by the Environmental Ministry from the retail and food sectors as well as at markets.  For heavier items, plastic bags of a 14 micron thickness, with a carrying capacity of at least 5kg (about 11 lbs) can be purchased by customers.  A review of this order in early 2009 showed a reduction of the use of plastic bags by retailers of up to 82% as compared to numbers from November 2008.  The review also showed that there was a need to increase the minimum thickness for the bags used to carry heavier items and so starting in May 2009, the thickness for such bags is 21 microns.
[added 06-04-09]

Spain

 Spain

  • Spain has enacted a law to halve the country's consumption of plastic bags by the end of 2009.

United Kingdom

 United Kingdom

 
England

  England

 
Aylsham

  Aylsham, England

  On May 3rd, 2008, the historic market town of Aylsham went plastic bag free. The shops charge a fee for disposable bags including plastic, cornstarch and paper (shop determined fee and type of bag).

Girton

  Girton, England

  The shops in the village of Girton have stopped giving out free plastic bags as of January 2008. Reusable cotton bags were handed out to residents and shops will have cotton bags in stock to offer in place of plastic.

Hebden Bridge

  Hebden Bridge, England

  This historic market town went plastic bag free in December 2007 using a campaign encouraging reusable bags. Residents were also given a free cotton bag as a kickoff for the program.

Henfield

  Henfield, England

  In May of 2008, the town of Henfield gave a free cotton bag to each household and all shops went plastic bag free. Shops charge for the use of paper or cornstarch bags and also have reusable cotton and canvas bags for sale.

Kew

  Kew, England

  In July 2008, the town of Kew began a plastic bag free campaign that encourages shops to forgo free giveaway bags and asks residents to bring their own reusable bags.

London

  London, England

  In 2007, a proposed ban on plastic bags was introduced in London.  By November 2008, the proposal was withdrawn.  This ban withdrawal came after the ministers of the London Councils supported the implementation of a minimum charge on plastic bags.  The government pledged that it would impose a minimum charge on shopping bags should retailers fail to make a voluntary and significant cut in the number of bags they give out.  If the retailers fail to comply, the minimum charge will be imposed across England and Wales this should bring about an even greater reduction in bag usage than London Councils Bill, which would only have affected London.  [updated 12-01-09]

Modbury

  Modbury, England

  On May 1st, 2007, the small town of Modbury and the resident shops and businesses enacted a ban on plastic bags (self-regulated). Shops offer reusable bags as well as compostable bags for items like fruit and meats.

Overton

  Overton, England

  Shopkeepers in the village of Overton switched from plastic bags to biodegradable corn starch bags in October 2007.

Tisbury

  Tisbury, England

  In January 2008, the village of Tisbury went plastic bag free; shops encourage reusable bags and residents were charged with making the change from getting free bags at the store to bringing their own bags.

Scotland

  Scotland

  • In 2006, the Plastic Bag Levy Bill was introduced to the Scottish Executive. The bill would have required supermarkets and other retailers to charge a fee for every plastic bag supplied to a customer. The bill was withdrawn before it could be voted upon.   [added 08-17-09]

Banchory

  Banchory, Scotland

  In January 2008, the town of Banchory started a campaign to encourage consumers to bring reusable bags to shops and also asked shop owners to cease carrying free plastic bags.

Selkirk

  Selkirk, Scotland

  On April 4th, 2008, this town became plastic bag free. The town encourages the use of reusable bags and funded local shops to buy paper bags made with recycled content for general shopping bag use and compostable cornstarch bags for food, meat and fish.

Wales

  Wales

  • The Environmental Minister of Wales is proposing a plastic bag charge between 5-15p at all retail establishments.  Revenues generated from the tax would be used to fund environmental programs.  Currently, supermarkets are working on a voluntary basis to reduce the amount of distributed plastic bags by 50%.  Its estimated that Wales uses 480 million plastic bags per year.  On November 3, 2009 the Environmental Minister confirmed that by May 2011, shoppers will be charged up to 15pence each for single-use plastic bags.  [updated 12-01-09]

Hay-On-Wye

  Hay-On-Wye, Wales

  In December 2007, the Chamber of Commerce and citizens of Hay-On-Wye decided to go plastic bag free. The shops charge for cornstarch takeaway bags and the town is encouraging the use of reusable bags.

Llandysilio

  Llandysilio, Wales

  In 2007, the small village of Llandysilio in Pembrokeshire Wales banned plastic bags from being given out at all shops including the post office.





Information about retail bag regulation activities is changing constantly.  We welcome your input.  If you have additional sources, or updates to current information on this website, please email
Johanna.Poston@dep.state.fl.us.

Last updated: September 09, 2013

Permitting and Compliance Assistance Program #850-245-8707 MS #4550