German government passes draft bill to ban disposable plastic bags

On Wednesday, the German government passed a draft bill by Environment Minister Svenja Schulze to ban disposable plastic bags in Germany. The draft bill provided for a ban on plastic bags with a thickness of less than 50 micrometers, according to the Ministry for the Environment.

Very light and thin plastic bags with a thickness of less than 15 micrometers, which were used in particular for the transport of loose fruit and vegetables, would to be excluded from the ban, because a ban of these bags would lead to "increased use of more expensive packaging."

Instead of disposable plastic bags, the ministry wanted to encourage consumers to switch to reusable plastic and polyester bags. The legal ban was intended to support the positive trend in less consumption of light plastic bags in Germany. Already in 2016, the Environment Ministry and German retailers agreed that trade would only give plastic bags to customers for money which had encouraged Germans to think over the issue.

According to, the Ministry claimed that about 20 plastic bags per head were still currently consumed per year in Germany. In 2015, this figure was more than three times as high with 68 plastic bags used per capita. Enditem

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