Statistically, 45 plastic bags per capita were used in Germany in 2016 . In a city like Oberhausen with 210 000 citizens this amounts to a total of almost 10 million bags per year. While some of the plastic bags are reused several times after their initial use, for example as a means of transport or as a garbage bag, most of them directly end up in the mixed waste bin or, as it should be, are fed into recycling via the »yellow bin«, the German lightweight packaging collecting system.
The amount of plastic litter in the oceans is still increasing – in total it is estimated to be 27-66,7 million tonnes  – and more and more pictures of starved birds and beached whales with their stomachs full of plastics fragments and bags instead of food are going around the world . That is why plastics, especially in the form of plastic bags and packag-ing, are increasingly becoming a subject of harsh criticism. For many years, plastic bags have been one of the top 10 litter items found during beach clean-ups .
Several initiatives, like plastic-free shops  or plastic-free cities , aim at completely abandoning these products. In April 2016 the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature conservation, Construction and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Trade Association of Germany (HDE) signed a voluntary agreement to reduce the use of plastic bags by half in the next ten years. Therein, the participating companies commit themselves to charge their customers a reasonable fee for plastic bags from 1 July 2016 at the latest. .
But how should the subject be evaluated from a scientific perspective? Experts from Fraunhofer UMSICHT have compiled the following facts and assessments.
 Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung (2017): Ein Drittel weniger Kunststofftüten in Deutschland. Last time checked: 2017, June 28
 Eunomia (2016): Plastics in the Marine Environment. Bristol, United Kingdom
 Spiegel Online (2017): Müll im Meer: Wal hatte 30 Plastiktüten im Magen. Last time checked: 2017, April 28
 Ocean Conservancy (2016): 30th Anniversary International Coastal Cleanup: Annual Report. Washington DC
 Utopia (2016): Verpackungsfreier Supermarkt: einkaufen ohne Verpackung. Last time checked: 2017, April 28
 IBP - Interkulturelle Begegnungsprojekte e.V. (2015): Unplastic Billerback. Last time checked: 2017, April 28