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Minister Responds To Calls For Plastic Bag Ban

The Infrastructure Minister says 'further investigation is required' to see if banning all plastic bags in Jersey 'is the best way forward'.

Deputy Kevin Lewis has responded after a States petition exceeded 1,000 signatures.

He says that despite it appearing to be a straightforward subject, there are some complexities - particularly on defining what products would be banned and making sure, by talking to stakeholders, that any new regime is a success:

"Whilst fully supportive of the principle to reduce the use of avoidable single-use plastic, further investigation is required to assess if a plastic ban is the best way forward. It is recognised that there is a drive to protect marine life, reduce litter and reduce dependence on plastic products globally and that Jersey should play its part in this.

"Plastic bags that are captured through the waste stream locally are treated in the Island’s Energy from Waste plant and so unlikely to cause hazards to marine life. Nevertheless, there will still be some carbon released from their incineration which contributes to Jersey’s carbon footprint and plastic bags that end up as litter do cause hazards for biodiversity on-island or at sea.

Deputy Kevin Lewis

"There has been momentum already in the Island to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags for some time with the major retailers charging for single-use bags and instead promoting the more robust reusable bags. This voluntary charging regime has driven behaviour change towards the use of reusable bags and raised significant amounts of money for charity from the charge for the single-use bags whose overall use has declined over time."

A States proposition on banning plastic bags has been pushed back to April.

Deputy Lewis says officers will research the opportunities and challenges that arise to bring forward a solution that best achieves positive change across the Island.

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