By the end of the year, most of the Netherlands’ major supermarkets will have stopped handing out single-use plastic bags.
Lidl, Jumbo, Plus and Aldi, have announced that their stores will stop offering regular plastic and paper bags currently available for fruit and vegetables, the Algemene Dagblad reported.
Instead, customers will be able to buy a more durable plastic bag, or simply bring their own.
The announcement comes after retail giant Albert Hejn ditched free plastic bags for fruit and veg in its stores and replaced them with 30 cent reusable nylon versions. The four supermarkets plan to phase out single-use bags within 12 months, potentially preventing millions of of plastic packaging items from finding their way into landfill or oceans.
“The consumer has to get used to it as quickly as possible. That is why it is important that as many supermarket chains as possible participate,” Carlijn Röell, director of the Plastic Pact NL, was quoted by the outlet as saying.
Retailers claim the ban will remove around 126 million plastic and 10 million paper bags from circulation every year. Lidl, which has 420 shops in the country, will axe the single-use plastic bags sometime after the summer. “We are now opting for sustainable bags,” a spokesperson for the chain told the paper.
Jumbo, the second largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands with over 700 stores, said it will start preparing for the transition in the coming months. Aldi, which has some 500 stores, plans to switch over to reusable bags when its supply of single-use bags runs out.
In a bid to tackle single-use plastic pollution, the Dutch government introduced a ban on free lightweight shopping bags in 2016. The move led to a 71% reduction in the use of plastic bags, according to the media.