Moldova launches phased two-year plastic bags ban

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Legislation, outlawing the sale and use of lightweight plastic retail bags, has come into force in the former Soviet state of Moldova this year.

In a bid to tackle the widespread problem of plastics packaging waste, members of Moldova’s parliament in the capital Chişinău passed the measure in July 2017. The regulations were due to be introduced gradually over several years. 

As of last month, the marketing and use of disposable bags will begin to be prohibited, at first through large retail stores and later also in smaller shops and kiosks nationwide. 

Consumers and businesses which violate the new law will face a possible fine of up to 10,000 Moldovan leu (MDL) [€ 513] according to national media reports.

Moldova’s government is urging consumers in the country to switch use from throw away the disposable plastic retail bags to paper, cloth or textile made shopping bags. Local news reports quote official data showing that the average citizen of Moldova uses at least 140 plastic bags annually.

Imposition of the plastic bag regulations will come into force between January and 2021. The ban is reported also to be phased according to the thickness of the plastics material, beginning with bags of over 50 microns.  

In another move to restrict plastics waste and clean up the national environment, the CIS state is also introducing measures to prohibit the use of some disposable plastic items including tableware. In November 2018, parliament approved a law banning the sale and use of non-biodegradable plastic plates, bowls, cutlery and plastic sticks.

This measure is scheduled to come into force from the beginning of 2021.

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