The sale of plastic bags will be banned in Ukraine from 2022

On June 1, 2021, Ukrainian deputies voted for the draft law №2051-1, which restricts the use of plastic bags in Ukraine, on the second reading. On the first reading, the draft was adopted back in November 2019. It proposes a ban on the sale of plastic bags in Ukraine, as they are environmentally unfriendly.

Restrictions that are proposed in the draft law 

  • Ban on the sale of plastic bags in stores and restaurants (it is referring to bags with thickness below 50 microns) from January 1, 2022.
  • The ban does not refer to biodegradable plastic bags and ultralight bags up to 225 mm wide (without side folds), up to 345 mm in depth (including side folds), up to 450 mm long (including handles), in which fresh fish, meat, powder products, ice, etc. are packed or transported.
  • Ban on the sale of oxo-degradable (oxo-biodegradable) plastic bags in stores and restaurants from January 1, 2022.
  • Ban on persuading buyers to purchase such bags.
  • Promoting the production of biodegradable bags.

What types of bags will be banned

The draft law restricts the sale of not only conventional plastic bags but also oxo-biodegradable bags. They are composed of 99 percent regular polyethylene and 1 percent oxo-degradable impurity. These impurities are metal-based additives that are added to polymeric materials to make them degrade faster by oxygen and ultraviolet light. If such a bag gets into the garbage heap, it will not decompose.

The authors of the draft law set сompostable bags against oxo-biodegradable ones. The сompostable bags are made from organic materials (plant, animal, microbiological). They decompose both in a highly oxygenated environment and in an environment with limited oxygen availability. Such bags are usually made from starches or cellulose, they are environmentally friendly and can even decompose in compost pits at home.

Why is it important?

According to the draft law’s explanatory memorandum, every Ukrainian uses about 500 plastic bags every year (in the EU this figure averages 90 bags). Only about 6% of such bags are sent for recycling, that is, there are about 500 thrown-away bags per person in Ukraine per year. The restrictions on the sale of plastic bags may partially solve this problem.