Charging for plastic shopping bags reduced use by 80%
The ban on free plastic bags implemented in the Netherlands in 2016, resulted in about an 80 percent reduction in plastic bags given to shoppers, according to a study by I&O Research. 94 percent of Netherlands residents said it has become a habit to take their own bag to the supermarket, NOS reports.
In 2018, an average of 35 plastic bags were sold per Netherlands resident, around 80 percent less than in 2015 before shops had to charge for their bags. The number of plastic carrier bags in litter has decreased by around 60 percent in the same period.
Of the respondents, 85 percent said they don't blame shops for charging for bags. Only 9 percent said they still expect to get a free bag if they buy something.
Some shops do still give bags free of charge. 27 percent of respondents said they got a bag for free when they buy takeaways, 19 percent said they got free bags when shopping at a market, and 17 percent got a free bag with meal delivery. Part of this has to do with the fact that fresh products may still be packed in thin bags.
Minister Stientje van Veldhoven is pleased with the results of this study, which she commissioned. "There is considerable public support for the Dutch ban on free plastic carrier bags," she said in a letter to parliament. She will look into how to better enforce the ban in the takeaway, fresh market, and meal delivery sectors, she said.