Catalonia is to ban free plastic bags as of 2016
The Catalan Waste Agency (ARC) has reached an agreement with the commercial sector under which free plastic bags will be banned as from January 2016.
Under this agreement all commercial establishments will have to charge clients for single-use plastic bags, so extending a practice to small shops that is now the norm with hypermarkets and large supermarkets. The regulations for this practice do not set out any minimum price for the bags sold at commercial establishments.
The measure aims to reduce the consumption of such bags by 90%, in other words, down to three units a month per city resident. It is enshrined in the amended European Directive, which regulates plastic bags for the first time and seeks to reduce their use by 80% between now and 2025.
The Bags Agreement signed between the Generalitat [regional government] of Catalonia and distribution and manufacturing organisations back in 2009 already established a voluntary agreement for reducing the consumption of single-use bags. That aim was overwhelming achieved: the number of bags consumed annually per capital dropped from 327 to 156 in 2012.