Albert Heijn looks to ban plastic bags by the end of the year
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Albert Heijn looks to ban plastic bags by the end of the year

Albert Heijn customer uses the reusable fresh bag in the fruit and vegetable department. Photo by Albert Heijn.

Albert Heijn grocery stores aim to do away with the plastic bags customers use to hold their fruits and vegetables while shopping, beginning with their stores in the Netherlands.

Instead of the usual little bags found in the produce section, Dutch customers will be given reusable nylon bags for free over a two week period beginning 19 April, according to De Standaard.

After those two weeks, customers will be able to purchase them for 30 cents.

The project is beginning in the Netherlands, but the supermarket chain intends to get rid of plastic bags in all stores by the end of the year, and the 60 stores in Belgium are waiting to see how the Dutch pilot plays out.

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“We will not immediately ban [the bags] in Belgium, but the timing will not be much behind that of the Dutch,” Ann Maes, spokesperson for Albert Heijn Belgium, told De Standaard.

The idea is to improve sustainability and cut back on waste.

“We notice that many of our customers are already working on the switch to more sustainable products. At a certain point, you just have to jump,” said Maes. “We are now looking forward to how Albert Heijn in the Netherlands will communicate about it and how fast or slow that turnaround will go.”

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times