Environment minister wants to ban plastic shopping bags
Joke Schauvliege is preparing a proposal to make plastic bags in supermarkets and other shops illegal
Exception for fresh produce
Schauvliege is specifically targeting plastic bags with a thickness of up to 50 micron, or the thin bags often found in supermarkets at the check-out. There would be an exception for the thin plastic bags used to collect fruit and vegetables in produce sections, as there currently is no viable alternative available that ensures hygiene.
A survey by Radio 2 and Flemish waste management agency Ovam shows that about 70% of residents in Flanders already employ reusable bags for grocery shopping.
Opposition party Groen reacted positively to the news, saying that it would improve the health of both people and nature. They ask the minister to allocate a budget for an information and communication campaign for shop owners.
Organisation NSZ, representing the self-employed, said that shop owners will need financial support to invest in reusable bags. Both NSZ and Unizo, also representing the self-employed, responded that a general ban is too drastic.
Unizo pointed out that clothing shops could face difficulties, as clients might not be willing to buy an expensive reusable bag for inexpensive purchases like a T-shirt.