Since the beginning of 2022, plastic bags are not allowed to be sold over the counter. The ban covers single-use plastic bags with a film thickness of 15 to 50 micrometres. For Christian Laforsch, Professor for animal ecology and spokesman for the special research area of microplastics at the University of Bayreuth, the ban has above all a symbolic character. In his view, it serves to create awareness and stands for the problematic handling of plastic. Laforsch considers it necessary to have a true circular economy plus a higher regard for plastics.
Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch, together with the team from the collaborative research centre at the University of Bayreuth, carries out research on the formation, transport and biological effect of microplastics and is currently working on new potential solutions. For him, the ban on plastic carrier bags is primarily of a symbolic character. He says the treatment of plastic bags was symbolic of the improper handling by humans of fossil resources such as crude oil and of "very valuable" plastic in general. Nevertheless, he welcomed the measure, which, like the ban on other single-use plastic products, would help to reduce superfluous plastic waste and littering. Laforsch emphasises that plastic bags should not, as a consequence of the ban, be replaced by single-use paper bags. Because of the chemicals used in their production and recycling, their ecological footprint, he says, is significantly worse than that of plastic carrier bags. It should also be borne in mind that "plastics, when properly handled, are still an indispensable material of our modern society". In order to utilise them for recycling after use, plastic packaging must, however, be properly disposed of. The “T-shirt bags”, which are exempt from the ban, should also be sent for proper disposal, says Laforsch. Also for these very thin plastic bags, paper bags were not an alternative because of their much worse ecological footprint.
- zeit.de, idowa.de (Dec. 31, 2021)
- uni-bayreuth.de (Dec. 29, .2021)
- Photo: Pixelio