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France to ban plastic bags in stores from January 2016

Staff writer |
French Minister of Ecology Segolene Royal announced that she will release a decree to ban plastic bags in stores from Jan. 1 2016.

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The decree provides for a ban on single-use bags from early next year, although it will not be until January 1, 2017 when it will be also extended to those used to carry fruits and vegetables, said the Ministry of Ecology in a statement.

Every year in France 17 billion plastic bags are used, 8 billion of which end up in the environment.

The ministry noted that although only used for a few minutes, they take several hundred years to decay and are eaten by birds and marine animals.

It also stated that 75 percent of waste discharged at sea is plastic, and that one of the emblematic cases of this pollution is the sea turtles who mistake the bags for jellyfish, a problem that affects 86 percent of turtle species.

With respect to birds, they found plastic debris in 94 percent of birds in the North Sea.

According to the minister, the ban on plastic bags is "a real opportunity to create jobs" in the field of green economy of France, since 80 percent of plastic consumed in the country is imported, a percentage rising to 90 percent in plastic cases used for fruits and vegetables, which come almost entirely from Asia.

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