Austria’s plastic bag ban

Rachael Finch

Last October, the Single Use Plastic Ban was passed by the European Parliament. Since then, EU countries have started to implement new laws to tackle the plastic waste issue.

From 1 January 2021, Austria will implement a plastic bag ban, which will affect all companies that provide plastic carrier bags to end consumers. The law is currently undergoing a transitional period, which gives companies a year to use up plastic bags already purchased. The ban includes companies who are selling via distance sales, as well as those with a physical presence within the country.

What is included in the plastic bag ban?

  • ‘Plastic Bags’ are defined as bags with or without a handle, or those that contain a handle hole made of plastic, which are offered to consumers at the point of sale or upon the delivery of goods
  • ‘Lightweight Plastic Carrier Bags’, which are defined as plastic bags with a wall of 0.015 mm to 0.05 mm

What is exempt from the plastic bag ban?

  • Carrier bags made from natural polymers that have not been chemically modified
  • ‘Very light plastic carrier bags’ – Any plastic bags with a wall thickness of less than 0.015 mm that are made from predominately renewable materials and can self-compose
  • ‘Reusable Bags’, which meet the following criteria:
    • composed of stable plastic fabric
    • bags with sewn connections
    • bags with sewn handles

How will these changes affect your business?

  • Online retailers can place plastic bags they have bought before 2020 onto the Austrian market until the end of the year (21 December). However, they must not buy new ones to put on the market
  • For companies who are declaring packaging data, plastic bags will have their own category within the Austrian packaging declaration. Companies must report how many ‘very light plastic carrier bags’ and ‘lightweight plastic carrier bags’ they place on the market separately
  • Although no fines have been implemented yet, they can be expected once the ban fully comes into force

Contact us

If you have any queries regarding the Austrian plastic bag ban, please feel free to email [email protected] for more information.