Tons of illegal plastic bags on the Italian market and environment

On September 7, 2022, the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Activities Related to the Waste Cycle and Related Environmental Offences ECOMAFIE published its final report on the illegal plastic bag-shopper market.
In this report, the Commission delved into the issue of the production and placing on the market of single-use plastic bags formed of compostable and biodegradable materials, which as of 2018 must replace plastic bags as required by Legislative Decree 152/2006.

Biodegradable shoppers were introduced to counter the phenomenon of "production-consumption-discard", improve the quality of product recycling, and avoid their dispersion into the environment.
However, the report prepared by the ECOMAFIE commission shows that not all retailers are aligned on compliance with the law. In particular, the survey found that 4 out of 10 bags in circulation are not suitable. In addition, the main actors releasing irregular shoppers into the environment include retail merchants and local merchants.

According to the company Plastic Consult, 76 thousand tons of single-use plastics were consumed in 2021. However, these include non-standard plastics. Their presence in the market can be attributed to the economic advantages arising from the lower cost of the raw material compared to that of biodegradable and compostable plastics, but also from the amount of money moved by buying and selling them. In fact, it is worth mentioning that the management of revenue from the illegal plastic bag market is fully in the hands of organized crime, which uses this market as a source of money and as a tool to control small-scale merchants and the territory.

The Parliamentary Commission has already made seizures of tons of substandard plastic bags and proceeded to fine the responsible entrepreneurs.

For further information:
Report of the Ecomafia Commission on shoppers, Polimerica

Read also:
Bioplastics: definition and sustainability, Beataladifferenziata 

Anna Ferrari