According to the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, the sale of plastic bags is to be banned in Germany as of 1 January 2022. On 26 November 2020, the Bundestag approved a relevant amendment to the Packaging Act initiated by Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. In future, plastic bags with wall thicknesses of 15 to 50 micrometers will no longer be allowed to get into circulation. The best alternatives are fabric and other non-plastic bags or baskets.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze: “Used for just a few minutes and, in the worst case for decades in the environment – the plastic bag is the epitome when it comes to wasting resources. This throwaway mentality is no longer in keeping with the times. The need to ban plastic carrier bags is more than overdue. However, disposable articles made from other materials must not replace the plastic bag at this point. The future is not the disposable paper bag. The future is reusable – and this is really no problem, especially with bags. Good alternatives are shopping baskets, washable fabric bags for fruit and vegetables and reusable boxes for goods from the fresh produce counter.”
The consumption of plastic bags has decreased in Germany in recent years. Nevertheless, consumers still use around 1.6 billion plastic carrier bags each year, or around 20 plastic bags per capita.
So-called “shirt pockets” with a thickness of less than 15 micrometers are not prohibited. Above all, they ensure hygienic handling of open and easily perishable foods such as meat or sausage products. There is no good alternative for this purpose as yet. Accordingly, a ban would possibly lead to more (pre-)packaging entering the market, which could lead to an increase in packaging waste. Many retail chains are already dispensing with packaging for loose products where possible. Plastic carrier bags with a wall thickness of more than 50 micrometers, on the other hand, are comparatively stable and therefore typically used more often.
The ban on plastic bags passed by the Bundestag on 26 November 2020 still has to be approved by the Bundesrat. The MPs have chosen 1 January 2022 as the date of entry into force.
If you have any questions on the German Packaging Act, the take-e-way GmbH consultants will be pleased to assist you. Call +49/40/750687-0 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further particulars are available on the BMU’s website: