Brussels’ ban on plastic bags in force next year

Summary

Supermarkets in the Brussels-Capital Region will no longer be allowed to hand out plastic bags, with other retailers following in 2018

Flanders to follow

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned in the Brussels-Capital Region from 1 September 2017, the region’s environment minister, Céline Fremault, has announced. Initially the ban will cover supermarkets before being extended to all retailers in 2018.

The EU has called for member states to reduce their consumption of plastics, which are made from fossil fuels and generally not biodegradable. Flanders is preparing a similar measure, and Wallonia has already implemented a ban.

Meanwhile, the main supermarket chains have introduced a more environmentally friendly bag, while charging for single-use bags and encouraging the switch to recyclable bags, which can be replaced for free.

Fremault has discussed alternatives with retail federations Comeos and Atrium, which represent Brussels businesses. Some of the cost of alternative bags could, she said, be carried by the region.

Opposition Groen welcomed the announcement. “We’ve been asking for this for some time,” said Annemie Maes, member of the Brussels parliament. “We’re happy the minister has finally agreed. Raising awareness is all very well, but it only makes sense if it’s backed up with regulation.”

Photo: Ingimage