Russia, Iceland and the island of Capri get tough on single-use plastics

Russia, Iceland and the island of Capri get tough on single-use plastics

May 13, 2019
Marcia González

Russia, Iceland and Capri get tough on single-use plastic

The Icelandic Parliament passed a bill last week banning single-use plastic bags. From 1 July, stores will not be allowed to provide plastic carrier bags free of charge to customers, while a total ban will take effect on 1 January 2021. The ban extends to plastic produce bags available free of charge in grocery store produce sections. Stores can, however, continue to sell plastic sandwich bags and garbage bags on their shelves. The ban will not apply to carrier bags made from other materials.

Meanwhile, as a result of new legislation, the Italian resort of Capri is to impose fines of up to €500 on anyone seen using any disposable and non-compostable plastics. The move not only targets the mass-tourism that the Island sees over the summer months, but also beach vendors selling goods accompanied with plastic cups, plates and cutlery, and plastic carrier bags that are not compostable.

Local campaign group Legambiente have been pursuing an aggressive campaign of keeping the seas clean – ‘The Sea Doesn’t Ask, But He Needs You’ – and they have praised the efforts of the island in the creation of the new legislation, which came into effect from 1 May.

Russia, too, may soon completely ban the use of plastic dinnerware, according to Dmitry Kobylkin, the Minister of National Resources and Environment. “We support the global trend to cut the use of plastic,” he told Russian media. “We’re preparing for restrictions – it will take time to acknowledge and to accept it.”

As many as 30% of Russians use returnable bags instead of one-way plastic bags for groceries, while one in six Russians are ready to give up single-use plastic for good. “This initiative is reasonable, because there is too much plastic waste on the planet,” MP Elena Serova, head of the environmental committee of the Lower House, told the country’s RT television network. “As for plastic cutlery, all developed countries should banish it”.

This is not the first time Russian authorities discussed measures to restrict use of plastic goods. Last year, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev pledged to ban plastic cutlery. In April, a senior MP came up with an initiative to prohibit the use of plastic bags, stressing that they became “a key issue” in regard to pollution.

If the initiative becomes law, Russia would follow the European Union which restricted single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers,in order to fight excessive plastic waste earlier this year. Several US states and cities, including Hawaii and New York, have also banned single-use plastics.

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