Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade opposes ban on plastic bags
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Russia’s Ministry of Industry ad Trade opposes a proposal to ban thin polyethylene bags on the territory of the four-nation Eurasian Economic Community, calling instead for the imposition of taxes on companies producing them.

In mid-December, the Union (made up of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia) held an online meeting at which the Belarus State Committee on Standardisation proposed a ban on a number of types of plastic packaging within the economic group. This applied, in particular, to polyethylene bags with a thickness of up to 50 micrometres, labels made of polyvinyl chloride and used on plastic bottles, polystyrene foam and biodegradable bags.

Minutes from the meeting show that Kyrgyzstan supported the proposal, while Russia and Kazakhstan were opposed.

The Russian ministry said the Belarussian proposal failed to provide an analysis of how the ban would affect the community, taking due account of consumers’ rights and quality requirements in terms of safety and hygiene and also the rights of industrial and commercial property.

The ministry further said that instead of a ban, economic instruments should be used – such as taxes or fees, as well as an expansion of the responsibilities of producers and by applying “proportionate and non-discriminatory” marketing measures.

A year ago, the Russian ministry indicated that in general it supported the idea of gradually phasing out the use of plastic packaging. But it also called for caution in seeking a ban on plastic bags, describing it as an additional economic restriction for market participants. It also called for increased use of paper packaging and for measures to improve and increase reprocessing.

More and more countries and individual companies throughout the world have abandoned the use of plastic bags and plastics in general.

From 2021, the European Union has banned the sale of crockery, cutlery, small tubes containers and other items made from plastic.

Thailand has also stopped producing thin plastic bags.

Jurisdictions that have completely or partially halted the use of disposable plastic include Canada, several U.S. states, Britain, Chile and a number of regions in China.

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