The Riigikogu approved with 68 votes in favour the Act on Amendments to the Packaging Act (358 SE), initiated by the Government, which transposes into Estonian law “the directive limiting the use of plastic bags”. The intention is to reduce the use of lightweight plastic bags to 90 plastic bags per person per year by the end of 2019. This number is intended to be brought down to 40 by the end of 2025. The deadline for the transposition of the directive was 27 November last year.
When the Act enters into force, other packaging options apart from plastic bags will have to be offered to customers in stores which is already being done. For example, paper, cloth and mesh bags but also reusable plastic bags are offered.
Starting from 2019, handing out free larger plastic bags will be prohibited in stores. This concerns for example the plastic bags handed out for purchases in large numbers during sales campaigns. The exemption remains in force according to which smaller lightweight plastic bags can be used as primary packaging for loose food, for example when buying meat or vegetables, or for hygiene purposes when buying milk in plastic packaging.
The Bill on Amendments to the Railways Act and the Public Transport Act (398 SE), initiated by the Economic Affairs Committee on 8 March, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu.
The amendment of the Railways Act is due to the need to specify the transposing provisions of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the railway system in the Community, and the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a single European railway area. The European Commission has drawn attention to the failure to transpose the provisions immediately. In essence, the amendments will have no particular impact and do not presume changing of the current conduct. In the Public Transport Act, the relevant Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport will be implemented.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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