International Plastic Bag Free Day is annually observed across the globe on 3rd July to create awareness about the hazardous effects of single-use plastic bags on the environment.
- The day is a reminder for individuals and communities globally to decrease their reliance on plastic bags and look for sustainable solutions as an alternative.
i.The first International Plastic Bag Free Day was observed on 3rd July 2008, initiated by Rezero, a member of Zero Waste Europe (ZWE).
ii.The first edition took place in Catalonia ,Barcelona, Spain, and later in 2009 ZWE decided to launch it at European level.
- The European Union(EU), in 2015, passed specific directives to decrease the dependence on single-use plastic bags.
i.The Plastic Bag Free Day is a part of the Break free from plastic movement, started in 2016 which unites the international movement of plastic pollution fighters to build a future free from plastic waste.
ii.In 2002, Bangladesh became the 1st country in the world to implement a ban on thin plastic bags as it clogged the drainage systems during the floods.
i.The Day aims to create awareness about the need to reduce plastic waste, promote sustainable alternatives and encourage behavioural changes regarding the use of plastic bags.
ii.The day also serves as a reminder of the harmful effects of plastic bags on the environment, wildlife and human health.
Efforts of the Government of India:
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) notified comprehensive guidelines on Extended producer responsibility (EPR) under plastic waste management rules 2016.
- The MoEFCC adopted,
i.To enforce the ban on identified single-use plastic items,
ii.To implement extended producer responsibility on plastic packaging.
Note: The Guidelines on EPR for Plastic Packaging target recycling of plastic packaging waste, reuse of rigid plastic packaging, and use of recycled plastic content.
Alternatives to Plastic Bags
Plastic Bags can be replaced with reusable cotton bags, mesh bags(washed and reused) and paper bags (biodegradable and recyclable) made up of made of canvas and cotton.
About Zero Waste Europe:
Executive director- Joan Marc Simon
Headquarters- Brussels, Belgium