Towards sustainable future - Ban on distribution of plastic bags in Ukraine

The Parliament of Ukraine has adopted a bill restricting the circulation of plastic bags on the territory of Ukraine, which introduces a gradual ban on the distribution of plastic bags free of charge in retail stores, pharmacies, restaurants, cafes and other catering and service establishments.

Ban of plastic bags in Ukraine

Bill No. 2051-1 during the repeated second reading was supported by 297 MPs with the required 226 votes.

The ban applies to the distribution of ultra-thin plastic bags, as well as thin and oxo-degradable plastic bags, but does not apply to biodegradable plastic bags and ultra-thin ones intended for packaging fish, meat, bulk products and ice, according to the documents posted on the website of the Verkhovna Rada.

As explained on the website of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, the ban on the distribution of thin packages (up to 50 micrometers) free of charge will come into force nine months after the adoption of the law. The ban on oxo-degradable plastic bags will begin in 2022, and on biodegradable and ultra-thin, which are the primary packaging for fish, meat, ice and bulk products, before 2023.

"Oxo-degradable (oxo-biodegradable) plastic bags are actually a ticking time bomb, because they are made with oxo impurities. Such impurities help the bag decompose into microplastics, which can easily enter the environment and water and thus pose a great threat to human health," the ministry said.

At the same time, the law itself will enter into force six months after its signing.

According to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, during the specified time, shops, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and pharmacies should completely switch to alternatives that are safer for the environment and human health – reusable bags and bags, paper bags, biodegradable bags. At the same time, enterprises must dispose of all packages that fell under the ban, but remained in circulation. Otherwise, they will face a fine from UAH 1,700 to UAH 3,400, for a repeated violation a fine from UAH 3,400 to UAH 8,500.

This important step for more sustainable future of Ukraine became possible thanks to the great cooperation and hard work of the group of devoted people. Among them the NGO ReThink – good partner of the Embassy in Ukraine. More information here