The German Bundestag (Parliament) voted this Thursday in favor of prohibit supermarkets from handing out plastic bags in the boxes from 2022, with the aim of reducing the consumption of this type of lightweight bags. The measure, however, has been greeted with skepticism from environmental groups and the opposition.

With the support of the coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens, the text amends the Packaging Law and prohibits plastic bags with a thickness of between 15 and 50 micrometers, so Some very light bags, used mainly by consumers for fruits and vegetables, are exempt.

After criticism from the industry, the legislative framework has finally extended the transition period until January 1, 2022, so retailers can deplete their plastic bag stocks.

The measure has been received with suspicion by environmental organizations and groups, since they consider that the ban is only symbolic, when representing plastic bags only 1% of plastic consumption in Germany, as reported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as reported in the newspaper The world.

For its part, the environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe has considered that the measure extends too long the disappearance of plastic bags, highlighting that 3,700 disposable plastic bags are generated every minute as waste, which usually end up in the environment.

But not only the NGOs have been demanding with the initiative, the opposition of Die Linke, the anti-capitalist left, and the Greens have considered during their interventions in the Bundestag session that it is not ambitious enough.

Also from the conservative opposition the amendment has received criticism, considering it as a attempted unjustified intervention in the market without entailing demonstrable benefits for the environment.

However, the German Environment Minister, Svenja Schulze, stressed that “the plastic bag is the epitome of the waste of resources”, for which she urged the population to use alternatives such as “shopping baskets, washable cloth bags, and reusable boxes.”