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Austria Launches Pilot Project for Biodegradable Plastic Bags

Environment ©


March 11, 2011

Plastic bags for fruits and vegetables at supermarket chains a thing of the past 

Enough is enough with plastic bags: Propelled by environmental concerns, especially recycling and waste reduction, the Austrian Minister for the Environment, Mr. Niki Berlakovich, launched a pilot project for biodegradable plastic bags on March 1, 2011. Biodegradable bags, initially for fruits and vegetables, will be gradually implemented at a majority of supermarket chains throughout the country. “This project will be the beginning of the end of the plastic bag use in the Austrian retail industry.”, according to Minister Berlakovich.

This mission is part of a so-called “Fünf-Punkte-Programm” (5-point program) which was initiated this past January following these guidelines:

  • Collaborating with the retail market in order to eliminate plastic bags
  • Initiating a pilot project to increase the use of (bio)degradable packaging material
  • Raising awareness to reduce waste
  • Evaluating ordinances in other European countries regarding the use of plastic bags
  • Suggesting an inspection for mandatory labeling of plastic bags by the EU Commission

As of now, a retail plastic bag ban has not been implemented within the European Union, since this is against the EU directive for packaging. An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 tons of plastic bags are used every year in Austria. “Each non-use of a plastic bag is another step towards conserving the environment and sustainability”, emphasized Minister Berlakovich.