Brussels plans to ban single-use plastic shopping bags

Summary

The environment minister of the Brussels-Capital Region is planning to introduce a ban on plastic shopping bags in grocery stores

Bring your own bag

The Brussels-Capital Region’s minister for environment, Céline Fremault, has announced that she will introduce a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, she told the Brussels parliament’s environment committee.

Fremault said that a consensus had been reached among all parties – except for MR, who were not present for the debate – that throw-away plastic bags should be banned. Multiple-use bags, paid for by customers and replaced for free when they are worn out, however, would be encouraged.

The Jette municipality banned single-use bags last year but had to withdraw the measure when the Council of State ruled it was not a decision individual municipalities could take. Elsewhere, the major supermarket chains are encouraging customers to find alternatives by charging for single-use bags and selling multiple-use bags.

“I am delighted that the minister has decided to make a point of banning throw-away plastic bags,” said Groen member of parliament Annemie Maes, whose party has pressed for the ban. “However, at some point she has to turn that decision into action.”

Maes suggested a pilot project in municipalities that were ready to introduce the ban. One possibility, she said, was Anderlecht, where the Abattoir shopping centre implemented its own ban.