Ban on free plastic bags is paying off

Plastic bags being produced. Photo:

Plastic bags being produced. Photo:

The ban on free plastic bags in the Netherlands appears to be paying off with 83% of people saying they now take their own bag to the shops, according to a short survey for the environment ministry.

The survey of just over 1,000 people found 66% ‘never or rarely’ buy a plastic bag and 90% are aware of the ban on free ones.

Some 70% of those polled support the ban, which was introduced at the beginning of this year. Shopkeepers are recommended to charge 25 cents for a bag.

According to website InRetail, Dutch shoppers got through some three billion plastic bags a year before the ban. Bags can still be used if necessary for hygiene, such as products which might leak. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. You can donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal using this special account [link].