The Slovak Ministry of Environment has unveiled plans to ban the distribution of free plastic bags by the country's retail stores, reports local news weekly Slovak Spectator.
The ministry proposed an amendment to Slovakia's Waste Act which would also require local stores to keep record of how many plastic bags they sell to their customers.
“Light plastic bags … quickly become waste, and thus it is necessary to prevent such waste's impact on the environment,” the ministry says in its proposal. “By decreasing their consumption, also the waste from packaging is reduced which is fully in compliance with the hierarchy of the waste economy where the [foremost] priority is to prevent the creation of waste.”
The ministry's proposal introduces new definitions of plastic, plastic bags, light plastic bags, very light plastic bags and oxo-degradable plastic bags into the Slovak legislation.
Currently, an average Slovak uses some 466 plastic bags per year, and in total, Slovakia recycles 8 billion such bags per year, according to data obtained by local news agency TASR.
The Slovak ministry has submitted its draft proposal to the inter-ministerial consultation phase, and it is scheduled to be considered by the country's government in December 2016. Should the measure be passed, it is expected to enter into force on 1 March 2017.