Free plastic bags banned from stores starting 2019

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Starting 2019, stores won't be allowed to give away small plastic bags, reported LSM's Latvian-language service.

The Latvian government confirmed this July 17. Very thin plastic bags for packaging meat and fish, for hygienic reasons, will be excepted.

"The ban on free plastic bags will reduce the volume of harmful material that makes its way into dumps and the environment. It will motivate retailers to take an environmentally friendly approach to work and adopt greener policies," said Environment Minister Kaspars Gerhards.

"Starting 2025 such plastic bags won't be sold in stores at all. These must be replaced with packaging that's more friendly to the environment," said ministry representative Rudīte Vesere. 

According to the State Environmental Service, every Latvian utilizes a kilogram's worth of plastic bags weighing less than three grams, and more than a kilo of heavier bags each year. 

Most plastic bags end up in dumps as only a fraction can be recycled. 

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