VILNIUS - The Lithuanian parliament voted on Tuesday to establish fines of thousands of euros on retailers for giving out free plastic bags thicker than 15 microns.
The draft amendments to the Law on Environmental Protection and the Code of Administrative Offenses were passed unanimously by the Seimas.
Retailers will face fines of 1,000 to 3,000 euros for providing free plastic bags and up to 5,000 euros for a repeated violation of the ban.
This will not apply to ultra-lightweight plastic bags (less than 15 microns thick) used for loose bulk items.
According to the Office of the Seimas, the parliament prohibited retailers from giving out free lightweight bags of between 15 and 50 microns' thickness as of January 1, 2019, but did not establish administrative liability for violating the ban.
Figures from the Lithuanian Retailers' Association show a decline in the use of ultra-lightweight plastic bags and lightweight plastic bags in the country in recent years.
Lithuanians used 226 ultra-lightweight plastic bags and 34 lightweight plastic bags per inhabitant in 2017, down from 260 and 39, respectively, in 2014.