By 2019, countries in the European Union will be using 80% less plastic bags, as set by a directive passed by the Parliament on April 15, 2014. An earlier 50% reduction goal (based on 2010 numbers) is set for 2017.
Once it becomes law, each individual country will have the option of placing a charge on their bags or adopting an outright ban depending on the model that works best for them.
Ireland passed the first bag levy in the world in 2002, which is currently set at 22 euro cents.
Others that have followed with various charges for plastic carryout bags include Wales, Northern Island, and Denmark.
Italy and France went one step further and banned conventional plastic bags altogether.
Plastic bags cost millions in local cleanups and can impact our marine wildife. Over 100 billion plastic bags are estimated to be used in the EU each year. These bags are just used once or twice before they are landfilled or littered. In Denmark, the bag charge has reduced usage to just four plastic bags per person every year.
Learn more about California's proposed statewide bag bill, which bans plastic grocery bags starting in the summer of 2015.