Compostable bags vs plastic bags

We have all used a plastic bag in a supermarket to carry the fruit or vegetables that we needed to buy. We were probably not aware that such bags are considered “light or very light”, unlike those that are delivered at the checkout to carry the groceries, which are larger and heavier. Well, from 2020 onward, according to the Draft Royal Decree on the reduction of the use of plastic bags, instead of the current ones, in the fruit, vegetable, charcuterie, meat, fish and bread departments among others, we will have to use a compostable or biodegradable bag rather than a light or very light one.

This Draft Royal Decree is based on a European Directive that obliges Member States to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags per year and inhabitant. Without questioning the measure and while sharing the objectives, since we are aware of the impact of such bags on the environment, we would like, as a food distribution company and, therefore, a company that is affected by this, to make some suggestions concerning the adaptation of the measure.

If such a significant change is going to take place, it would make sense to make sure of the environmental benefits of one bag over another.

It is important to carry out a prior educational training action focused on the consumer being able to manage them properly when such changes take place in the market

It is necessary to realize that, in order to manage this properly, a selective collection action would be necessary. This implies that users, in their homes, would have to place the compostable bag in the organic waste, and then, in turn, would have to dispose of it in the so-called “fifth container” (for organic matter) which is currently not widely implemented by the municipalities. If this is not done, and if we throw it into the gray container we have, it will not generate the positive impact on the environment that this measure seeks, since the compostable bag will end up in a landfill. Indeed, in the case that compostable bags are placed in the yellow container, it is possible that the plastics cannot be adequately recycled either due to the presence of compostable bags.

In short, while we wait for this implementation in 2020, it is advisable not to generate gaps in the system that may generate an undesired effect.

As a company we would like to emphasize that the measures have to be taken with guarantees, for that reason we suggest that we are provided some reasonable time to do so. And that we are not restricted to a single measure, let’s try to find more alternatives that allow us to fulfill the final objective that is to improve the impact on the environment.

Since its beginnings, back in 1979, DIA was the first in Spain to charge for the use of plastic bags without it being a legal requirement, thus achieving the awareness of our customers in the rational and responsible use of this resource.