Check-out counter plastic bags shall be prohibited in the Brussels Region beginning September 1st, 2017. All other bags for the purposes of packing goods employed by retailers will be prohibited beginning September 1st, 2018, announced the Brussels Minister of the Environment Céline Fremault (cdH) on Tuesday, at an Environment Commission of the Brussels Parliament.
The decision was taken last Thursday by the Regional Government in the framework of a draft law on waste management, the first reading of which was approved. The text is an adaptation of a European Directive on the matter. Exceptions for reasons of hygiene and public health have not been immediately excluded and would be the matter of a separate Ministerial Ordinance.
“I have opted for this prohibition to be phased out in time, in order to respond to the needs of transition of merchants and because accompaniment of the measure by the Region is needed,” explained the Minister of the Environment when questioned on the subject by Arnaud Pinxteren (Ecolo) and Annemie Maes (Groen). For Mrs. Fremault, the progressive nature of the prohibition must be seen firstly as an opportunity to identify the best possible reusable alternative and to then promote it in the entire region’s territory. In this context, the Minister has given Brussels Environment the responsibility of doing follow-up of the consultation begun with Comeos and Union des Classes Moyennes, and to begin cooperation with Atrium, the Region’s liaison arm in matters of management of commercial units, for providing accompaniment to merchants. Also, Brussels Environment will prepare an awareness-building campaign aimed at consumers, who are “the main actors for making this change a success,” she said.