Kaufland First Retailer in Croatia to Ban Plastic Bags

Daniela Rogulj

November 4, 2019 – Kaufland will be the first retailer in Croatia to stop the sale of lightweight plastic bags. The new rule will take effect from January 1, 2020. 

Aiming to reduce plastic in the environment, Kaufland Croatia has decided to completely ban the sale of lightweight plastic bags in all of its stores in Croatia, reports N1 on Monday.

According to the Ordinance on Amendments to the Regulations on Packaging and Packaging Waste, lightweight plastic bags are plastic carrier bags with a thickness of fewer than 50 microns. At Kaufland, these bags can currently be purchased at the checkout register for 80 lipa and 1 kuna. However, as of January 1, 2020, these plastic bags will no longer be available to Kaufland customers, who will instead be able to choose from several other types such as paper or canvas bags, the retailer said on Monday.

“We are proud to be the first retail chain in Croatia that decided to do something for a cleaner and healthier environment and ban the sale of plastic bags,” said Patrick Rudat, CEO of Kaufland in Croatia.

In addition to banning plastic bags, as of January 1, Kaufland Croatia will also pull the sale of disposable plastic utensils and cutlery, as well as plastic sticks and straws, and replace them with alternative sustainable solutions. 

Recall, with the new Sustainable Waste Management Act by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which should be adopted in the second quarter of 2020, it will be impossible to place some disposable plastic products on the market, 24 Sata reported back in September.

The list includes cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, straws, beverage stirrers, balloon holders, food containers, styrofoam cups, and oxo-degradable plastic products that later decompose into invisible microplastics. The product list may also be expanded, depending on the results of the consumption reduction measures for items like plastic bags.

Specifically, on January 1, 2019, the implementation of measures to reduce the consumption of lightweight and very lightweight plastic bags began, and manufacturers and sellers are required to submit information to the Environmental and Energy Efficiency Fund about the quantity of bags placed on the market. In May 2020, we will also have results from the implementation of these measures, which also includes the mandatory payment for plastic bags and educating citizens. The EU’s deadline for banning these products is July 3, 2021.

Vecernji List wrote back in 2017 that the estimated annual consumption of carrying bags in the Republic of Croatia is around 8000 tons. According to the European Commission recommendation that the EU Member States use bags that weigh an average 8.5 grams, it follows that the annual consumption of bags in Croatia is about 954,000,000 bags, or 212 bags per capita per year.

According to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, which opposes such a ban, 8200 workers in 700 companies worked in the plastics and rubber industry last year. Production increased by 50% from 1990 to last year. Two years ago, we exported plastic worth $437 million. Furthermore, the Croatian Chamber of Economy published data that the analysis of the European association PlasticsEurope showed that if the plastic packaging for food was eliminated, the weight of the packaging would quadruple, the energy consumption would increase by 50 percent, there would be 60 percent more waste and twice the greenhouse gas emissions.

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