Prohibition on light-weight plastic shopping bags in Brussels


Starting the 1st of September 2017 a prohibition on light-weight plastic shopping bags will be imposed in the Brussels capital region.

The prohibition is a consequence of the bad impact plastic bags have on our environment: the fauna in our oceans, the use of non-renewable resources (such as oil) and the problematic disposal.

In many countries around the world there is a phase-out of lightweight plastic shopping bags. Bangladesh was the first to ban plastic bags back in 2002. A similar ban has also been imposed in China, Macedonia, Taiwan, California, France, Italy, Rwanda,… So the Brussels capital region is no exception. It had already a fee imposed on plastic shopping bags (as it is the case in the greater of Belgium) and will now go one step further: the complete ban starting in supermarkets as of September 2017 and later extended to all retailers in 2018.

What does this prohibition mean for our daily life ?

In the first place it’s only about the non-reusable plastic bag you get at the cash desk of your supermarket. After one year the prohibition will be extended, also the bags you use to collect your vegetables and fruits in the supermarket will disappear.

This phased approach gives the retailers AND their customers time to adapt and find new ways to carry the bought items home. A change of mentality doesn’t come overnight, but here are some alternatives I see :

The paper bag seems a valid alternative. Re-usable and recyclable, but still questionable. A paper bag is 3,5 times more expensive then a light-weight plastic bag. And there are also ecological concerns. According to a Dutch study the paper bag production process has an ecological impact that is five to ten times bigger then the plastic bag production process has.  Lot’s of water and energy are required in it’s production process. Besides that, the chopping of trees will still be required to meet our paper demands. Maybe not the best alternative…

Let’s look a bit further. Another option is to take your own re-usable shopping bag with you. This is an ecological and cheap alternative. Re-usable shopping bags exist in all kinds and colours. Here at Elva Bags we offer shopping bags made out of recycled fabrics. The recycling of fabrics not only adds further to the reduction of the ecological impact of your shopping bag, but makes every bag unique and individually designed.

Let’s get used to our unique, adorable, practical and re-usable shopper and help get our future environment plastic-free !  Oceans’ fauna will be grateful.. it depends on us.

Want to read more about the plastic ban locations in the world and the need for re-usable bags ?  Here is a good starting point :

And, of course, the Elva shopping bags you find here : Elva handbags

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