The availability of ultra-light plastic bags for primary packaging or transport of bread, fruit, and vegetables is prohibited as of June, but operational difficulties have led distribution companies to ask for the elimination of this prohibition.
The Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (APED) told Lusa that it sent to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action, at the end of December 2022, a proposal for the revocation of this ban, “given the absence of an alternative on the market to respond requirements, the absence of Portugal's obligations towards the European Union and the need to ensure the harmonization of legal requirements and free competition within the community”.
The ban stems from a law, published in September 2019, on providing alternatives to the use of ultralight plastic bags and plastic trays at points of sale for bread, fruit, and vegetables. Initially, the bill from the Os Verdes party (PEV), unanimously approved by parliament, provided for banning ultralight bags from June 2020, but the published diploma ended up setting the deadline of June 1, 2023.
The proposed repeal of APED is based on three grounds: the functioning of the single market; food safety and prevention of food waste; biodegradable and compostable alternatives.
“Firstly, the European Union does not impose restrictions on the use of 'very light bags' that are necessary for hygiene reasons or made available as primary packaging for food products sold in bulk, taking into account aspects of food safety and prevention of food waste ”.
Another reason for the repeal, according to the association, is the need to “safeguard the packaging of products at high risk of deterioration or very perishable”, such as blueberries, and controlled atmosphere products, fruits, and vegetables cut in store.
From this ban on selling bakery products, fruit and vegetables packaged in very light plastic bags, and in single-use plastic containers, the law makes an exception for plastic bags and packaging that are proven to be biodegradable and compostable, as long as they are not made available free of charge.
APEAD, regarding biodegradable and compostable alternatives, points out that community legislation provides for the obligation for very light plastic bags to be “compostable in industrial bio-waste treatment units only 24 months after the entry into force of the Community Regulation”.
“This deadline will be important to guarantee the qualification of the current infrastructure for the treatment of biowaste in the country. The European Commission does not recognize biodegradable plastics as an alternative to single-use plastics. The “only balanced solution” is the repeal of the prohibitive article of the 2019 law, says APED, adding that it is “faithful to the constructive posture and openness to dialogue” and that, therefore, it also proposed an alternative wording of the article (4 77/2019), “if a revocation is not possible”.
What the Assembly needs to do is to make compulsory the availability of recycling bins on each residential or commercial building (this in the cities of course) and municipal authorities must help.
By Diogo F. from Lisbon on 23 Jan 2023, 01:36
Have you seen the plastic in the oceans; its there along with the bacterias that closed some of your beaches this year AND the fish are eating it and you're eating the fish!!! Google plastics in our oceans and you'll want to stop the packaging. We must stay aware, be FLEXIBLE and change some of our bad behaviors. Every year is the hottest for past 5, the planet isn't going to cooperate as a "comfortable" place to live and everyday gets worse from cars++. It's not 10 or 20 years from now; it's now! Wake-up, nix the plastic and do whatever you can afford to contribute to "sensible" living after the corporations have raped our planet for themselves. It's all heading in a bad direction; earthquakes in Portugal, Algarve updating Tsunami equipment "maybe" in time. It's only a thought now, needs to be a race as realities go. Do you think an article like that may affect the real estate market; maybe that's the Portuguese plan to stop the overgrowth of foreigners buying property. The Human Resourses people in the 80s in Seattle and Portland wouldn't hire Californiansnthat had sold their houses for hundreds of thousands and condos in Seattle were $41,800. for a one bedroom and 3br. homes were $200,000. because they were raising the prices so the HR people organized a "rain" public relations campaign so that sunny Californians didn't want to go there and went to Phoenix instead. It actually rains much more in Florida than Seattle or Portland as I lived there lol, it worked!
By Wes from USA on 23 Jan 2023, 06:37
There are plenty of biodegradable plant based alternatives on the market. These businesses should have already been switching to one of these alternatives. Us little people are already doing what we can, but everyone knows that the big change happens on a corporate level. Quit whining and switch.
By Michelle from Porto on 23 Jan 2023, 09:57