Italy becomes first EU country to ban plastic bags


Italy's thousands of shops and stores were no longer allowed to provide customers with plastic bags—polyethylene (PE) bags to be precise. Cloth, paper, and biodegradable plastic shopping bags are OK, and several retail businesses intend to offer them.

The ban, which was opposed by industry groups, was to have been phased in gradually starting in 2006 when it was first approved in the national legislature. Only on December 22, 2010 did it become clear that the bill's chief sponsor, Stefania Prestigiacomo, Italian environmental minister, could put the bill into full effect on January 1....
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