The European Parliament's influential environment committee has backed proposed changes to the European Union (EU) packaging and packaging waste directive designed to reduce the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags.
Members of the European Parliament on the committee agreed that the law should tell EU member states to cut the use of bags thinner than 50 microns in half by 2017 and reduce consumption by 80 percent by 2019.
The committee said member states should have the choice of using taxes, levies, marketing restrictions or bans to achieve these ends.
Danish Green MEP Margrete Auken, who coordinated the committee vote, said: “Dramatically reducing the consumption of these plastic bags is easily achievable with a coherent policy.”
Only very light bags for wrapping loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy products could be given away, under the new law.
The full parliament will now vote on the proposed revised directive at its April 14-17 session.