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MEPS look to cut plastic bags use - Harborough plays its part!

March 11, 2014 7:16 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Only a few weeks ago the HIT team from the south of the region made the news headlines presenting their 4000 Morsbag to East Midlands European Spokesperson Councillor Phil Knowles.

Morsbag leaves Market Harborough

Morsbag leaves Market Harborough

The bags, produced by the team from donated fabrics are given free of charge to shoppers, encouraging the community to use the reusable bags rather than using more and more plastic carriers.

The 4000th Bag made by the Harborough team was passed on by Cllr Knowles to East Midlands MEP Bill Newton Dunn who was pictured with the bag in Brussels . Now the debate on the use of plastic carriers has reached the debating chamber of the European Parliament.

Members of the European Parliament's Environment Committee approved a report for reducing the consumption of plastic bags.

Morsbag in Europe

Morsbag arrives with Bill Newton Dunn in Brussels

The main objective of the amended directive on packaging and waste is to limit the negative impacts on the environment, in particular in terms of litter, to encourage waste prevention and to reduce significantly the number of single-use "lightweight" plastic bags which is defined as 50 microns or less in thickness.

Plastic bags pollute soil, water and kill thousands of marine wildlife (ecosystems). In 2010, more than 8 billion plastic bags ended up as litter in Europe. Every European citizen used, on average, 198 plastic bags, 90% of which were single-use lightweight bags. Annual per capita consumption of single-use plastic bags varies greatly between Member States, ranging from an estimated 4 plastic bags (in the best performing countries) consumed per citizen in Denmark or Finland, to an estimated 466 (in the worst) in Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia or Baltic states.

Speaking after receiving the European briefing Phil Knowles said

" I understand that 70% of all plastic waste in the North Sea comes from plastic bags . It is a problem we can help to solve in various ways and I have no doubt that the Morsbags and the like which can be used time after time have a major positive contribution to make to the environment. If you look at the 4000 Morsbags already produced in Harborough they will have saved consumers using many, many tens of thousands of plastic bags"