Italy Bans Plastic Bags in 2011
An Italian plastic bag reads "Respect Nature."
Buy a single onion at an Italian verdura stand and you are guaranteed a bag to hold your purchase, so it remains to be seen how things will change on January 1, 2011 when Italy’s countrywide ban on plastic bag goes into effect.
It is estimated that Italians are responsible for 25% of all plastic bags used in the European Union. The disproportionate love for a ‘busta’ at the grocery store could be part of the motivation behind the new law.
Stefania Prestigiacomo, Italy’s Environmental Minister, confirmed that the ban on single-use plastic bags will start at the beginning of the new year. The outlawing of non-biodegradable bags has already been delayed by a year, but Prestigiacomo announced that the change will be enforced starting next week.
How Italy’s new environmental stance will be enforced remains to be seen. There are no nationally defined fines, but local municipalities can levy their own charges. For example, the city of Turin has declared that local business will be charged 25-250 Euros for violations.
Shoppers in Italy already pay a bag tax of 5 cents, but the out-right ban may catch some retailers off guard, so consider BYOB (bring your own bag) on your next Italian adventure!