Single-use plastic bags are used only for a few minutes and then thrown away. Each citizen of Montenegro use in average 400 to 600 single-use plastic bags per year and none is recycled in Montenegro: in the best case, if they do not end up in nature, they are piled up in landfills.
Zero Waste has started a national petition in July 2017 to ban once and for all single-use plastic bags in Montenegro.
Update 04.09.2019: A few months ago, a group of active citizen tired of seeing their country trashed everywhere decided to get together to ask one more time our government to ban single-use plastic bags in Montenegro. They named themselves OcisteME and Zero Waste Montenegro has been supporting them from the beginning. Over 5100 people signed the petition they started and today they deliver it at the Ministry MORT. The government is expected to approve the new waste management law since May this year, and it contains a full ban on single-use plastic bags. Let’s hope this overwhelming mobilization of citizen will help the government to approve the law!
Update 09.01.2019: Plastic bags will no longer be free – interview of Dragan Asanovic
Update 07.09.2017: Dragan Asanovic, General Director of the Waste Management and Communal Services Directorate of the Ministry of Sustainable Development has informed us he is willing to amend the directive regarding plastic bags and packaging and asked us to make a proposal of implementation plan for our proposal. We expect to have it finalized by end November 2017.
Update 10.01.2018: The Ministry asked us to provide support with drafting the revision of the legislation with the aim to ban plastic bags. We expect to get the EU Commission via its TAEIX instrument on board, which can provide relevant legal expertise to the Montenegrin Government, in order to finalize the legislation. We have been preparing by researching, collecting and translating laws from different countries which have successfully passed such legislation recently (France, Kenya). As we don’t have any in-house legal expertise in our team of volunteers, we are constantly looking for collaboration with experts in the area to assist us in the drafting process. Once finalized, we will submit the draft legislation to the Ministry. This is the first step before the implementation plan can be finalized. We expect to have a first draft available by the second quarter of 2018.
Update 03.09.2018: The Ministry of T&SD should submit any day now the draft proposal for the Packaging and Waste Packaging, in line with the EU Commission Directive. This should include among others the new law on plastic bags (despite our ongoing lobbying, we expect a taxation of the plastic bags but there is very little chance that a ban will be taking place). It will also include a bottles Deposit Refund Scheme as EU Commission requires 90% of bottles recycling by 2015, which can only be achieved through a DRS system. We did recommend the government to have a centralized not-for-profit organization managing the bottles DRS, organization to be created and managed by the retailers, importers and producers of bottles, with strict reporting requirements. This model has been shown the most successful approaches in many countries. (Beverage containers comprise 40-60% of litter, so such a scheme can have a great impact on littering reduction in Montenegro). A well implemented and well managed deposit scheme doesn’t cost more than 0,01€ per bottle.
Do you know how many citizen have signed the petition? 500 offline + 3137 online!
Read below the official letter to the Ministry to request the ban:
Plastic bags pose a grave threat to the livestock and wildlife in Montenegro and also contribute to increased pollution levels on and in waters, clogged drainage systems and polluted environment included in the most touristic areas of the countries.
Single-use plastic bags is the most relevant example of bad design since they are designed to last several hundred years and are being used just a few minutes* and then thrown away. Each citizen of Montenegro uses in average 600** single-use plastic bags per year and none is recycled yet in Montenegro: in the best case, if they do not end up in nature, they are piled up in landfills. The environmental and social costs of single use plastic bags is huge. Even biodegradable bags (oxo) which are wide-spread in Montenegro survive long enough in nature to harm wildlife and spoil the beauty of our country.
In order to drastically reduce the single use plastic bag usage, the EU approved the Directive 2015/720 known as the Plastic Bags Directive. Launched in April of 2015, the Plastic Bags Directive has the goal of empowering EU Member States to mitigate their consumption of lightweight (thinner than 0.05 millimetres) plastic bags, through a means of their choosing, to reach the following targets:
- 90 lightweight plastic carrier bags per person by the end of 2019 and
- 40 lightweight plastic carrier bags per person by the end of 2025
France, Kenya, Italy, Rwanda, and many large cities from USA, Australia and UK banned the single use plastic bags and the oxo degradable bags. Romania is also on the way to approve a national ban on plastic bags. Countries like Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Finland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, have opted to place a tax on them instead, which has produced some promising results, but banning lightweight plastic carrier bags remains the key solution over taxation.
We salute the Montenegro Waste Management Plan 2015 – 2020 that supports at chapter 6.5 (Waste Prevention Programme), the ‘Reusable Shopping Bag’, which proposes to replace disposable shopping bags by: “Distributing at first Reusable Shopping Bag free of charge to the clients of the participating retailing companies/supermarkets. Imposing a price on Disposable Shopping Bags at the same time. Then selling Reusable Shopping Bag for an insignificant price. Damaged Reusable Shopping Bags should be replaced free of charge and subsequently recycled.”
Considering that Montenegro will need to take action and transpose the EU legislation in the light of its upcoming accession to the EU, to make this shift possible, we urge you to take a courageous stand today and ban the lightweight plastic carrier bags and oxo degradable bags completely by the end of 2018. It will leave 18 months for distributors to organize themselves and finish their stock of bags before the ban enters in action.
Zero Waste Montenegro and Zero Waste Europe experts are offering technical support to the Montenegrin government with the implementation of the lightweight single use plastic carrier bags and oxo degradable bags ban.
Zero Waste Montenegro team & the signatories of the petition,
Alexa Aubertin | Director | Zero Waste Montenegro NVO
Olga Nikčević | Executive director | Centar za zaštitu potrošača Crne Gore
Jelena Radunović | Environmental protection advisor | DOO “Komunalno Kotor”
Joan Marc Simon | Director | Zero Waste Europe
Dr. Brigitte Heuel-Rolf | Country Director | GIZ Montenegro
Natasa Kovacevic | Director | Green Home NVO
Igor Milosevic | Director | ADP-Zid NVO
Patricia Pobric | Director | NVO Nasa akcija
Ljilja Radunović | Director | Ekološki Centar DELFIN
Jelena Marojević Galić | Programme coordinator | Koalicija 27
Aleksandar Perović | President of the Board | Centar za zaštitu i proučavanje ptica Crne Gore NVO
Jelena Krivcevic | Executive Director | Regionalna Razvojna Agencija
Blažo Crvenica | Executive Director | Biciklo.me
Delphine Lévi Alvarès | European coordinator | #BreakFreeFromPlastic
Miodrag Karadžić | Director | Društvo mladih ekologa Nikšić NVO
Rita Barjaktarovic | Director | NVO Sjeverna Zemlja
Maja Raičević | Executive Director | Women’s rights Center NVO
Jack Delf | Founder |Western Balkans Geotourism Network
Scott Perry | Director | Montenegro Eco Adventures D.O.O.
Emma Heywood | Director | Undiscovered Montenegro
Sarah Pavlovic | Director | Montenegro Pulse
Hayley Wright | Director | Black Mountain Montenegro
Denise Boyton-Jennings | Director | Camp Full Monte DOO
* lightweight plastic bags are used in average for 12 minutes – source USA Environmental Protection Agency
** 500-700 plastic bags per person per year is the average in developed countries around the world – no specific data available for Montenegro