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EU limits use of plastic bags

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The European Union approved a measure in late November that would reduce the number of single-use plastic bags handed out in retail stores. The measure is expected to cut bag use by 75 percent over the next decade.

EU countries can do one of two things: Ensure that no more than 90 bags per person are used annually by 2019, and 40 bags per person annually by 2025; or that no single-use plastic bags are handed out for free after 2018. The UK plans to put a price on plastic bags next year, according to the Guardian.

The measure applies to bags that are 50 microns or less in thickness, which is 90 percent of bags in use, and the ones most likely to end up as litter. The average EU citizen used about 176 plastic bags a year; Poles and Slovaks use 466 bags annually; Danes use about four.

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