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Spain to put an end to free plastic bags

16 January 2008

MADRID – The Spanish government wants to cut the number of plastic bags circulating in the country, where nearly all shops hand them out for free to every client, the daily El Pais reported Wednesday.

More than 10 billion plastic bags are distributed annually in Spain, with every resident receiving nearly 250 bags on the average, according to figures quoted by the daily.

Only 10 percent of the plastic bags are recycled. The vast majority end up at waste disposal sites, in nature or in the sea.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist government has drafted plans to reduce the consumption of plastic bags by half by 2009 and to ban the use of non-biodegradable single-use bags from the following year.

Planned measures include ordering shops to make clients pay for bags, as well as environmental consciousness campaigns.

Environmentalists criticised the plan as insufficient, while plastic bag producers said it was excessive.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

Subject: Spanish news