In 2016 the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW), together with major trade companies and the NGOs Greenpeace and Global 2000, adopted a voluntary agreement on the reduction of carrier bags.
It is based on an amendment to the Packaging Directive of the EU according to which, by the year 2019, EU-Member States have to reduce the number of plastic carrier bags to 90 bags per person and year as a maximum.
The voluntary agreement of the BMLFUW goes beyond the target of the EU-Directive. In line with the political objective of Federal Minister Rupprechter the agreement provides for a more ambitious target: A maximum of 25 plastic bags per person and year and reduction also of disposable carrier bags made from other materials, such as paper.
Disposable carrier bags made from all types of materials will only be handed out against payment. Exempt from this provision are the so-called knot bags used for certain fresh produce, for example for fruit and vegetables. To achieve reduction in this area, too, they will no longer be available for free in the cash register zone.
In addition, customer information is to be improved, the use of reusable bags is to be encouraged, and environmental projects are to be promoted. A first awareness-raising campaign for customers was launched on radio, print and social media from February 2017 to April 2017.
To be able to assess the progress achieved the BMLFUW will publish an annual report based on the data from the undersigning enterprises.