Kazakhstan authorities have decided to gradually abolish lightweight plastic shopping bags in the country.

Kazakh Minister for Investments and Development Zhenis Kasimbek noted in his blog that the authorities had studied an international experience to reduce plastic bag use and decided that it is possible to impose ban on plastic bag use in two stages.

At first, free distribution of plastic bags will be banned in Kazakhstan and then the sale of plastic bag will be banned. 

Local authorities, Kazakhstan’s Waste Management Association “KazWaste” and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan “Atameken” are currently studying this initiative.  

In many countries including Kazakhstan, plastic bags have largely replaced the use of re-usable bags and containers in shopping. 

The plastic bags are environmentally unfriendly in the extreme, take hundreds of years to degrade, and fill up landfills.  Plastic litter can also lead to soil degradation, which hampers trees growth.