Ian Hudghton (Greens/EFA) – I support this report. Action to reduce the usage of plastic bags in Scotland by the SNP Government has already proven to be enormously successful, with figures at the end of 2014 showing a massive 90% reduction in plastic bag usage. Under these new rules, which I trust will be approved by MEPs, Member States would be able to choose between two policy options: to either take measures to ensure that average yearly consumption of these bags does not exceed 90 lightweight bags per citizen by 2019 and 40 by 2025, or alternatively, to ensure that, by 2018, they are not handed to shoppers free of charge. Plastic bags are not biodegradable and are especially harmful to marine animals. That is why targeted action is essential to making a difference, as Scotland's experience proves. These measures will make many consumers get into the habit of reusing bags, which should reduce the amount of litter that blights our communities and natural environment, and costs a fortune to clean up. Scotland has raised over GBP1 million for charities as a result of the single-use carrier bag charge; I would be delighted to see this model replicated amongst EU retailers.

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