Government bans use of plastic bottles, bags and plates in state sector

Portugal’s government on Thursday approved a resolution prohibiting all state institutions and those indirectly overseen by the state from using plastic bottles, bags and crockery, as well as cutting consumption of paper and other consumable items by 25% within one year.

At a news conference after the day’s weekly cabinet meeting, the cabinet office minister, Maria Manuel Leitão Marques, announced the adoption of the resolution that “defines measures to reduce the consumption of paper, printing consumables and plastic products in the public administration.”

The new rule prohibiting the use of plastic bottles, bags and crockery would, she said, force departments to use of alternative materials, as well as imposing guidelines for public procurement.

An example of the new measure will be cabinet statements, which as of next week will no longer be distributed in paper form to journalists as hitherto and will be available only online.

“The resolution shall be binding on the direct and indirect administration of the state, including public institutes [and] the offices of members of the government,” the statement reads. Public enterprises are also covered, while in the regional governments and the Azores and Madeira the rules are optional only.

Compliance with these objectives is to be assessed on January 31, 2020.