German packaging association slams bag tax

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BAD HOMBURG, GERMANY (Dec. 6, 11:55 a.m. ET) — The German Green Party has called for a tax on plastic carrier bags in the country, which has drawn a fierce response from the German Association for Plastics Packaging and Film (IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen EV).

The party is proposing a 22 cent tax for plastic carrier bags in order to promote alternative packaging materials.

IK said in a statement the German Green Party is justifying its call on the basis of plastics pollution in oceans.

IK said: “Has the Green Party actually missed the fact that for over 20 years great success has been made in the area of disposal and recycling of plastic carrier bags within the framework of the packaging directive? By now, the recycling quota of plastics packaging has reached 97 percent. As a consequence, there are no littering problems with plastic carrier bags in Germany, nor do they end up in the sea in large quantities. This statement by the Green Party is simply wrong.”

The group claimed more than 90 percent of German consumers collect packaging for recycling.

It also criticized a suggestion that carrier bags should be made from plastics derived from renewable resources that decompose in the environment.

Bad Homburg-based IK said: “A plastic material that decomposes by itself within a short period of time is currently not available. Rather, these so called biodegradable carrier bags are sorted out in German composting plants, as their decomposition is taking too long. In addition, they are not suitable for the recycling process.

“In this context, the Green Party would be well advised to listen to factual arguments and not to build up an ideological enemy stereotype.”