The Government Recommends Promoting The Use Of Plastic Bags

Original Language Title: Recomenda ao Governo a promoção da redução do uso de sacos de plástico

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1 DRAFT RESOLUTION No. 268/X RECOMMENDS the Government to PROMOTE the REDUCTION of PLASTIC BAGS waste policy in Portugal, theoretically based on the principle of the 3R's-Reduce, reuse and recycle-met in recent years considerable developments in the area of the last R-recycling-mainly because there was no need to implement a process virtually nonexistent for about 20 years in our country.

However, the tentative advance of recycling (if we make the balance between residues that are effectively recycled and the goals established respectively), there was, unfortunately, minimally accompanied by measures in the area of the first two R's, which, incidentally, should have been considered a priority in the light of a policy actually committed to reduce waste, save energy and raw materials and reduce environmental impacts.

"The Greens" have, over the years, called attention to this fact looking for proposals that go towards the effective reduction of production and use of ephemeral goods on your use and permanent (on the scale of a human life) in the environment and constitutes a heavy problem and environmental liabilities, of which the most recent example was the draft law No. 205/X/1 which proposed measures for the reduction of packaging and packaging waste presented in 2007. Plastic bags, namely the consumed and used daily in purchasing goods in shops, especially in large areas, constitute a not insignificant part, the problem of waste in our country, as all over the Western world dominated by massive consumption system 1 2 ephemeral and unsustainable, obeying more the economic rationality of profit and competitiveness than your ecological sustainability.

On average, the conventional plastic shopping bags, made from oil derivatives (high-density polyethylene), representing 2000 tons offered every year by the supermarkets, with a tendency to increase, are used for 12 minutes, but it takes hundreds of years to decompose, causing negative impacts at different levels in the environment.

At European level, Council Directive 94/62/EC (as amended by Directive 2004/12/EC), known as the packaging directive, came to determine goals of recycling: until 2011, 22.5% of plastics will be recycled. Unfortunately, according to the data of the Institute of waste at the end of 2005 Portugal was far from fulfilling the recycling targets set out in directives or in own PERSU (strategic plan for solid urban waste), showing the worst results plastic (face to the glass and the paper) with only 11% of all placed on the market.

In Portugal, in accordance with Decree-Law No. 366/97, every reusable packaging placed on the market must have an appointment to inform the consumer that the system of packaging waste management ensures the correct forwarding for your recovery or recycling.

In our country, the integrated management system of packaging waste (SIGRE) is funded by Packers/importers pay a given value by packaging such as plastic bags which they place on the market, transferring to Green Point Society responsible for the management and ultimate destination of used packaging, as residue.

But the overwhelming majority of plastic bags is not enough to enter the row of recycling, since consumers don't get to deposit in a recycling bin or handing in any other collection system for recycling. 1 3 of the causes, invariably pointed to, relates to the inadequacies of their own collection systems, among others.

Some supermarkets decided to start charging for plastic bags that provide payment boxes. It was also suggested, in the past we have, the possibility of charging a fee for each plastic bag. In any case, the idea is just to pass on more costs to consumers and putting a price on pollution or in environmentally correct little behaviors which in itself does not solve the problem.

In France, the French members in Parliament, decided in October 2005, unanimously, ban until 2010 the marketing and distribution of bags and packages of non-biodegradable plastic in French territory, a measure which has raised critical reactions of various industry and a consumer association which led to that, at the end, and after the intervention of the Senate, if applied only to plastic bags.

Some industry has tried to circumvent this problem by proposing innovative technological solutions to try to make more harmless plastic bag in the environment. It should be however stress that some methods initially introduced to make biodegradable plastic bags, consist only of adding special additives, which can fuel the degradation in your smaller chains of polymers, reducing the visual pollution but persisting risk of environmental contamination.

However, plastic bags are already made from alternative sources to oil derivatives, often designated as bioplastics. The use of starch (cereals, particularly corn, and potato). The use of bioplastics in shoppers know today a certain expansion that might accelerate in the near future.

In Portugal there is already a platform for research, development and Innovation in Polymers from renewable sources. One of the guidelines is precisely 4 the use of residues from agriculture and agri-food industries, in particular, in the case of starch, for the promotion of new bioplastics.

In Portuguese authorities there are also cases of good practice. There was already the promotion campaigns, distribution and use of biodegradable and compostable bags.

However, it is necessary to go further and take measures that, privileging always the reduction of consumption and use of short-term assets and re-use of assets with long life, given the production of new consumer goods quickly even if using renewable raw materials, fully biodegradable, or with recourse to recycling, contribute to solving the problem of massive production of waste in modern societies.

Thus, under the constitutional provisions and regulations applicable, the Assembly of the Republic, at the proposal of the parliamentary group "Os Verdes", recommends the Government: a) to promote, advance and until 2013, consumer awareness campaigns aimed at the reduction and cessation of the use of plastic shopping bags and replacement for your reusable bags as traditional carrycots, cloth or troley bags; b) to promote, advance and until 2013, with the hypermarkets developing strategies for reducing the use of plastic shopping bags, as creating conditions to make it easy and enjoyable to use reusable bags, made available or not for surfaces, namely through a symbolic discount on the invoice of the shop who dispense with taking conventional plastic bags; c) the obligation of conventional plastic bags contain message alerting you to the environmental impacts and negative energy and raising awareness for your replacement with reusable bags; 5 d) create awards and other financial incentives or tax, to promote the development of production technologies of plastics (and new materials substitutes) using renewable sources (thus excluding the use of oil derivatives), involving preferably as raw material by-products of agriculture, fisheries and industry, and as one of the resulting products biodegradable and compostable plastic bags; and) that create prizes and other financial incentives or tax to local authorities and other public bodies responsible for management of municipal solid waste to progressive replacement, until 2013, garbage bags (made from petroleum derivatives) by other fully biodegradable and compostable; f) the prohibition, until 2013, the use of plastic shopping bags not fully biodegradable.

Palácio de s. Bento, February 12 2008.

The Members of "Greens", Heloísa Apolónia José Miguel Pacheco Gonçalves