Legislation

England to Announce 5p Bag Levy

The Queen announced to the English Parliament yesterday that the government would be introducing a 5p levy on plastic bags distributed at large stores and supermarkets beginning next year, writes James Chapman of the Daily Mail. According to the article, more than eight billion plastic bags are used each year in England, which equates to approximately 130 bags per person. The bags ultimately end up littering the landscape, and there are generally around 70 bags literring each mile of coastline, posing a threat to wildlife which then consumes it. Chapman reports:

Sweden to Sue European Commission Over Delayed Ruling on Endocrine Disruptors

After a lengthy period of waiting for the European Commission to complete its assessment of the safety of endocrine disruptors, Sweden has decided to sue the Commission in an attempt to force them to respond to the issue. Sweden threatened to sue the European Commission if it did not come to a decision regarding endocrine disruptors by December of 2013. According to an article on Euractiv, Sweden's hope is that litigation will help Europe take steps into a "poison-free society." The European Commission has responded that it believes the issue is important, and:

Bag Tax Acts as Habit Disruptor, Helps Reduce Plastic Usage

On the 22nd of May, the European Union will be voting on a measure to instate a plastic bag tax with the intention of reducing the masses of single use plastic generated by Europeans annually. In an article from the Guardian, Oliver Balch reports that Danish MEP Margrete Auken is a particularly outspoken proponent of a bag tax, but supports the small fee over an outright ban because it would function as a "habit disruptor". According to Balch:

New York Poised to Charge 10 Cent Bag Fee

This week, New York city council received a proposal from two of its members which would impose a 10 cent fee on plastic bags distributed throughout the city. While the council was hesitant to suggest an outright ban, Mark Huffman of Consumer Affairs writes that the council hopes that the measure would encourage people to be more ecologically sensitive when they shop in the city. The fee would exclude bags given for take-out foods, medications, and alcoholic beverages.

French Parliament Threatens Legal Action if European Commission Ignores Endocrine Disruptors

Frustrated by inaction on the part of the European Commission, the French Parliament's committee on European Affairs has published a report which indicates that endocrine disruptors are a pressing health issue. EurActiv writes that the report took a firm stance on the European Commission's inaction, stating:

Will Israel be Next in Line to Ban Plastic Bags?

Early last week, the Environment Protection Ministry of Israel announced that it has drafted a bill aimed at eliminating plastic bags from its culture and landscape, the Jerusalem Post reports. According to an article written by Sharon Udasin, the bill was written to reduce the distribution of plastic bags in retail stores.

California's Compromise: Bag Ban By 2015?

California lawmakers unveiled a compromise bill last Friday that, if passed, would ban single use bags and impose a tax on bags distributed at the checkout as early as 2015. The bill has been a long time coming, the result of pressure from state representatives and environmental groups alike. According to Charlotte Alter of Time Magazine, the changes brought about by the bill would be enormous. She writes:

Bisphenol A Debate Drags on as Endocrine Disruptors are Identified

Bisphenol A has been making headlines with fair regularity lately as a bitter debate over its regulation as a chemical is waged. The number of studies and research projects that have found reasons for concern over the near ubiquitous nature of bisphenol A are growing, but voices from the chemical industry remain adamant that the chemical is safe. According to Lynne Peeples of the Huffington Post, the danger of this ongoing battle could affect more than just bisphenol A and those in contact with it.

Scientists Who Opposed EU Chemical Policy Have Industry Ties

Recent reports indicate that a group of scientists who have been vocal in their opposition of the European Union's provisional chemical policy may not be impartial researchers due to industry ties.

Primary School Kids Talk Bag Fees With UK Prime Minister

A group of children from a primary school in Teddington, Greater London recently went on a trip to 10 Downing Street to share an environmental message with the UK's Prime Minister, David Cameron, according to an article published in the Richmond and Twickenham Times. The school group traveled with MP Zac Goldsmith and a four meter wide albatross constructed from plastic bottles, and arrived at Downing Street hoping to share an environmental poem. Cameron emerged to meet with the group. Writes reporter Clare Buchanan:

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