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Germany: Lightweight Plastic Bag Ban to Take Effect January 1, 2022

(Feb. 25, 2021) On February 9, 2021, the First Act to Amend the Packaging Act entered into force in Germany. The amendment bans the distribution of lightweight plastic bags at the point of sale of goods or products starting January 1, 2022. Lightweight plastic bags are those with a wall thickness below 50 microns. Very […]

Ecuador: Law on Restrictions on the Use of Plastic Enters into Force

(Feb. 16, 2021) On December 21, 2020, the Organic Law for the Rationalization, Reuse and Reduction of Single Use Plastics entered into force in Ecuador through its publication in the Registro Oficial, the official gazette. The purpose of the law is to restrict the use of single-use plastic products. Under the new law, the following […]

Switzerland: Popular Initiative to Hold Businesses Accountable for Human Rights Abuses or Environmental Harm Abroad Fails

(Feb. 10, 2021) On November 29, 2020, the popular initiative “For Responsible Businesses – Protecting Human Rights and the Environment” (Responsible Business Initiative) failed to reach the necessary majority for approval in Switzerland. The initiative aimed to introduce stricter statutory requirements for Swiss businesses abroad to comply with human rights obligations and environmental standards. It […]

Australia: Bill Banning Export of Unprocessed Waste Enacted

(Jan. 11, 2021) On December 15, 2020, Australia’s Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 (Cth) received assent. The act implements an export ban on waste plastic, paper, glass, and tires agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in March 2020. At the same meeting, the Commonwealth (i.e., federal) government, state and territory governments, and […]

New Zealand: Mandatory Climate-Related Financial Disclosures Proposed for Financial Sector

(Oct. 12, 2020) On September 15, 2020, the New Zealand Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, announced that the government would introduce legislation requiring the financial sector to report on climate risks. He stated that “New Zealand will be the first country to introduce a mandatory climate-related financial disclosure regime.” The Ministry of Business, Innovation and […]

Italy: Implementation of EU Legislation on the Recycling of Electrical Equipment and Batteries

(Oct. 6, 2020) Italy recently took steps to address the proper disposal of batteries and electrical equipment. On September 27, 2020, Legislative Decree No. 118 of September 3, 2020 (L.D. No. 118) entered into force in Italy. The Decree implements EU Directive 849 of 2018, which amended EU Directive No. 66 of 2016 on batteries […]

Italy: EU Directive on Recycling and Disposal of End-of-Life Vehicles Implemented

(Sept. 30, 2020) Italy in September adopted a measure on end-of-life vehicles (vehicles that are no longer in use and thus constitute waste) that will bring the country’s domestic law in line with EU directives. Legislative Decree No. 119 of September 3, 2020 (L.D. No. 119), effective September 27, 2020, implements EU Directive 849 of […]

Italy: Law on Ratification and Implementation of Nuclear Energy Treaties Promulgated

(Sept. 2, 2020) On July 23, 2020, the president of Italy promulgated a new law implementing several multinational nuclear energy treaties, fulfilling the treaties’ implementation requirements, and amending Italian legislation to update provisions on nuclear damage and liability. Law No. 97 of July 23, 2020 ratifies and orders the implementation of the “Paris Convention” (Convention […]

Germany: Law on Phasing-Out Coal-Powered Energy by 2038 Enters into Force

(Aug. 31, 2020) On August 14, 2020, the Act to Reduce and End Coal-Powered Energy and Amend Other Laws (Coal Phase-Out Act) entered into force in Germany. The Coal Phase-Out Act aims to gradually reduce and eventually end the use of coal-powered energy in Germany by 2038 in order to “reduce emissions and provide the […]

European Union: Commission Proposes European Climate Law to Achieve Climate Neutrality by 2050

(Apr. 7, 2020) On March 4, 2020, the European Commission (Commission) published a proposal for a regulation (European Climate Law). The proposal would codify the European Union’s (EU’s) goal to become climate neutral by 2050 in accordance with the European Green Deal of December 2019. An EU regulation has general application. It is binding in […]