Decrease in lightweight plastic bags continued in 2021

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In 2021, each person living in the EU consumed on average 77 lightweight plastic carrier bags (LPCBs), which is 11 bags less per person, compared with 2020. Overall, 34.2 billion (bn) lightweight plastic carrier bags were consumed in the EU in 2021 (-4.8 bn bags compared with 2020).

This information comes from data on lightweight plastic carrier bags published by Eurostat today. The article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article 2021 was the first year in which EU consumption of very lightweight plastic carrier bags (i.e., bags with a wall thickness of less than 15 micrometres (microns)) decreased. In 2021, the EU inhabitants consumed 12.3 bn very light plastic carrier bags (VLPCBs), less than in any of the years before (since the data collection started in 2018): 14.1 bn in 2018; 14.5 bn in 2019; 14.9 bn in 2020).

Since 2018, the consumption of LPCBs between 15 to less than 50 microns thick has steadily decreased: from 8.2 bn in 2018 to 3.5 bn in 2021.

All EU countries now have consumption reduction measures in place as required by the plastic bags directive, which aims to reduce the consumption of LPCBs to not exceed 40 bags per person by 31 December 2025. However, this target does not include VLPCBs.



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