The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has passed a draft law in the second reading and as a whole to limit the circulation of plastic bags in the country, which proposes mechanisms to stimulate the development of the production of biodegradable plastic bags, as well as introducing liability for violation of requirements related to the distribution of bags.

Some 297 MPs with the required minimum of 226 votes backed relevant bill No. 2051-1, an UNIAN correspondent reported.

According to an explanatory note to the bill, it provides for a ban on the distribution of plastic bags up to 50 microns thick in retail and public catering facilities from January 1, 2022.

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Fines for plastic bags

From January 1, 2022, the distribution of banned plastic bags will be fined from UAH 1,700 (US$62) – UAH 3,400 (US$124) for the first violation and UAH 3,400 – UAH 8,500 (US$309) for the second one.

Business entities that distribute plastic bags by offering an oxo-degradable (oxo-biodegradable) bags under the guise of biodegradable bags or otherwise will be fined from 100 to 250 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens (UAH 1,700 – UAH 4,250, or US$62-US$155). For repeated violations within three years, they will have to pay from 200 to 500 non-taxable minimum incomes.

Employees of business entities for persuading consumers to buy plastic bags will be fined from 100 to 200 non-taxable minimum incomes, while for repeated committing of the same violation within three years they will have to pay from 200 to 500 non-taxable minimum incomes.

"Simultaneously with the imposition of a fine, a central executive agency that implements state policy in the field of state control over compliance with consumer protection legislation will make a decision to confiscate plastic bags that do not meet the requirements of the law. Disposal of confiscated plastic bags will be carried out at the expense of a subject of their distribution," the bill says.

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Plastic bags that will not be allowed:

• ultralight plastic bags;

• light plastic bags up to 50 microns thick;

• oxo-degradable (oxo-biodegradable) plastic bags.

However, the restrictions do not apply to biodegradable plastic bags and ultra-light plastic bags up to 225 mm wide (without side folds), up to 345 mm deep (including side folds), up to 450 mm long (including handles), intended for packaging and (or) transportation of fresh fish and meat and their products, as well as bulk products, ice, which are distributed in retail outlets as primary packaging.

It is also planned to ban the distribution of oxo-degradable (oxo-biodegradable) plastic bags in retail and restaurant facilities from January 1, 2022, prohibit consumers to buy plastic bags, stimulate the production of biodegradable plastic bags and establish liability for violation of the provisions of the law.

In addition, mandatory labeling of biodegradable plastic bags is required in accordance with the national standards.