Parliament proposes ban on the sale of light plastic bags
"With bazaars, everything is a bit more complicated. There, cheap disposable packaging reigns supreme," said Davydenko. "However, unlike in supermarkets, fruits and vegetables aren't packed into plastic… and you can always use your own bag."
Experts also raised a concern about the so-called biodegradable plastic bags containing D2W, also known as oxo-degradable plastic. Ponikarchuk and Davydenko said that there is no evidence that such bags fully biodegrade. Instead, they fall apart into microplastic particles, which can easily get into the ground, the air, and the water supply, poisoning animals and people. This makes them more dangerous than large plastic bags, which can at least be gathered in one place. Oxo-degradable plastics do not require any certification in Ukraine, according to ReThink.
The European Union recommended to ban the use of plastics that contain D2W, writing that these plastics are "not a solution for the environment and that oxo-degradable plastic is not suited for long-term use, recycling or composting. There is considerable risk that fragmented plastics will not fully biodegrade and are a subsequent risk of an accelerated and accumulating amount of microplastics in the environment."
This week, the European Parliament approved a new law banning single-use plastic items like plates, straws and cutlery by 2021. The law calls on member states to collect 90 percent of plastic bottles by 2029 and forces plastic bottles to contain 25 percent recycled content by 2025.
In January, the Verkhovna Rada, introduced bill 9507, proposing a ban on the sale of light plastic bags in retail outlets. However, the bill contains exceptions, permitting certain ultralight plastic bags as well as bulk products for which the bag is the primary packaging.
ReThink supported the bill, stating that it would align Ukraine "with civilized countries that understand the consequences of excessive use of plastics for the environment." It would also force Ukraine to quickly develop alternative, environmentally-safe products.
However, Linichenko and the EBA criticized aspects of the bill, saying that while business supported a reduction in plastic bags, it would be unfair to supermarkets because they face more inspections than bazaars, which would continue to use small disposable plastics.
Workers sort garbage at the No Waste Recycling Station in Kyiv on September 4, 2018. Several recycling stations have opened in Kyiv over the past year. (Ukrinform)