Shoppers in Spain have reduced plastic carrier bag use by almost 50% in five years, according to data released by the environment ministry on Monday.

The data reveals that the number of single-use, non-biodegradable bags used per year has decreased from 315 units in 2007 to 170 units in 2012.

The information was released following questions by the socialist opposition as to how the country is progressing towards the Europe-wide total ban and an 80% reduction by the year 2019.

However, despite the significant decrease, the use of these bags is still indicating an average of one every two days, prompting calls for faster and more direct action, as well as awareness initiatives such as a “bag-free” day.

The government has stressed that a waste prevention program was signed in 2013, to enable management of the bags in the design phase, production and distribution, as well as tackling the problem through “awareness and reuse campaigns as well as voluntary agreements” with both consumers and suppliers.

The main concerns over these plastic bags are that they are made of polyethylene, which is a petroleum product, and it takes around 1,000 years for a polyethylene bag to break down, but they don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller toxic bits which contaminate soil and waterways. They then enter the food chain when animals accidently ingest them.

The amount of petroleum used to make a single 1 plastic bag would drive a car about 11 meters.

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Car and Motor Insurance | Spanish Home Insurance | International Money Transfers | Send Money to Spain | Spain Property | Online International Payments | Property in Spain
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