Starting January 1, all stores in the Serbian capital – Belgrade, in accordance with the decision of the City Assembly (parliament), are obliged to refuse plastic bags and offer in return paper or biodegradable products for customers to choose from.
“The city fully supports this decision because it concerns the environment. There will be even more such decisions. We want to influence the degree of environmental protection. We are expanding pedestrian areas, we are buying electric buses, and all this is part of the broad policy that the city implements.” – said the Deputy Mayor of Belgrade Goran Vesic.
Meanwhile, on the pages of the Greenpeace official website, environmental specialist Alexander Ivannikov reasonably argues that replacing standard disposable bags with biodegradable is not a guarantee of security for our planet. Any disposable packaging is not environmentally friendly and harms nature, he emphasizes.
In particular, the expert draws attention to the fact that biodegradable polymers are valuable and can only be used in areas where there is a public collection system for collecting organic waste for composting or individual home composting systems are installed. “In other cases, the use of such polymers is irrational: in fact, food-grade crops are produced so that they can be used for disposable items, and then buried at landfills or burnt,” he states. “To grow huge volumes of crops to turn them into disposable items, – it’s totally irrational to use the resources of the planet. ”
Alexander Ivannikov also says that in the manufacture of paper bags, air and water are much more polluted than in the production of plastic ones. “As a transitional measure, disposable plastic bags can be replaced with disposable paper bags, but only subject to several conditions: to ensure transparency of information about the origin of raw materials; to provide the buyer with the opportunity to hand over packages for processing; to prevent the sale and distribution of paper bags made from intact forest timber territories and forests of high conservation value, “- says the ecologist.