• Germany's news in English

Greens call for 22 cent tax on plastic bags

The Local · 9 Mar 2013, 12:32

Published: 09 Mar 2013 12:32 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“A tax of 22 cents per plastic bag could finance research into biologically degradable material,” Dorothea Steiner, the environment policy speaker of the Greens in the Bundestag or parliament, told the newspaper.

The party made a similar effort two years ago but was unsuccessful. There has, however, been more attention to plastic bags' detrimental effect on the environment since then.

“We could set an example for the rest of Europe with this,” said Rebecca Harms, the Green Party faction chief in the EU Parliament. She told the paper that thousands of one-way plastic bags end up in the oceans and increasingly pose a threat to marine life.

Currently the purchase of a plastic bag in a supermarket costs German consumers 10 cents. Raising it to 22 cents represents a more than 200 percent price increase, Focus Online said.

The EU Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik introduced a discussion paper on Thursday on how to reduce plastic garbage, Focus reported.

Story continues below…

One suggestion is to use market-based incentives to reduce plastic bag consumption. EU-wide there were 95.5 billion plastic bags in use in 2010, the magazine's online site said.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:02 March 9, 2013 by pepsionice
In most areas that have put a progressive tax on the plastic bags....it's because of a trend of them appearing on the highway or street. In the German case....Germans are extremely proactive in taking them home....using them for household functions, reusing them, and there's no need to worry about their effect on society.

If you put another ten cents onto them....I think most Germans would just plain stop buying the bags period, and just use the cloth bags....which are generally collectors of bacteria.
14:24 March 9, 2013 by jg.
The Greens should probably look at the UK, where biodegradable carrier bags have been around for over a decade i.e the research is well advanced there. Tesco have recently stopped supplying their biodegradable carrier bags, due to suggestions that such bags have some problems. The ingredient which makes the bags biodegradable prevents them from being recycled, in the same way as conventional plastics. As the bags may be covered when discarded, they may receive less sunlight (and the UV which helps them break down) - this means the bags may take longer than the anticipated 2-3 years to completely degrade into powder. It is suggested that during this period, small animals may ingest small pieces of plastic as the bags break down (although there is no evidence to support this).

So, if we have biodegradable bags that can survive their first use, they will probably be deemed to be degrading too slowly and possibly, threatening wildlife during their degradation. In which case, this will be an exercise in futility and another pointless green tax.
14:38 March 9, 2013 by grazhdanin
Plastic bags are a Western disease. In East Germany one would rarely get a plastic bag, and if one had one, one would use it again (and again). If people nowadays are too damn stupid not to buy another plastic bag every time they do shopping, those items should entirely be banned.
15:29 March 9, 2013 by Englishted

That was because there was so little to buy they could use their pockets to carry shopping home.
15:45 March 9, 2013 by lucksi
"Currently the purchase of a plastic bag in a supermarket costs German consumers 10 cents. Raising it to 22 cents represents a more than 200 percent price increase, Focus Online said. "

I see that someone failed math
16:08 March 9, 2013 by catjones
germans always seem to have a need to 'set an example' as if they've cornered the market on ingenuity and the rest of the world should follow.
03:18 March 10, 2013 by Steve1949
The Green party should be eliminated. They never have any sensible ideas.
03:29 March 10, 2013 by Eric1
Green party = The party of lazy, greedy people.
09:41 March 10, 2013 by ovalle3.14
I find this a good idea. Some behaviors need to be taxed.
16:41 March 10, 2013 by raandy
pepsionice i agree that Germans will reuse the bags until they are no loner usable and then discard them in the trash. I could count the number of plastic shopping bags I have seen discarded in the outdoors on one hand.

The tax is not necessary and will solve nothing.
18:06 March 10, 2013 by BadHomburg1963
Tax, Tax, Tax, Tax.....Where will it end?
23:48 March 10, 2013 by IchBinKönig
Plastic Bags are Bad, therefore Politicians should Be PAID OFF when buying them. Nice Logic. Isn't it time to get back to banning porn on the internet in the EU, Polis?
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd