Dutch shops will be banned from giving away free plastic bags from January 1 next year, junior environment minister Wilma Mansveld has told parliament.
The ban is part of a wider effort to reduce the use of plastic bags, the minister said in a briefing. Research has shown 77% of consumers would accept paying for a bag or using alternatives, the minister said.
There are, however, two exceptions to the ban: plastic bags can still be used if they are essential for ‘functionality’ and for ‘food safety’, the minister said. She did not give any examples of what this would mean in specific situations.
She is also looking into a possible exemption for biobased or biodegradable plastic bags.
Labour MP Yasemin Cegerek, who has long campaigned for a ban, welcomed the decision. She says some eight billion plastic bags end up being dumped in nature every year.
‘Over seven billion bags are meant to be used just once,’ she is quoted as saying by news agency ANP. ‘This is bad for public health and disastrous for the environment.’
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