Supermarket chain Lidl has announced plans to stop selling plastic carrier bags altogether
in its stores – even smaller transparent bags for weigh-your-own loose produce such as
fruit and vegetables.
The German retail giant says it will replace five-cent plastic carriers with multi-use raffia
bags at 50 cents, and recycled paper bags will be provided for loose goods.
Raffia bags are plastic-coated, but recycled, and are hard-wearing and designed practically
for lifetime use, meaning they do not create toxic waste in the same way as traditional
supermarket carriers do.
At a press conference in Madrid this week, chief executive Claus Grande said this would
come into effect before the end of 2018 – even though it would mean a €1.5 million dent
in Lidl's takings.
The company will see its income from bag sales fall by 30% as a result, but is 'committed'
to the changes, says Grande.
Lidl has already stopped providing plastic bags at its stores in the Balearic Islands.
According to Grande, nine in 10 Lidl customers in Spain are in favour of the move.
A European Union directive means member States are not allowed to sell lightweight
plastic bags from the year 2020, but Lidl intends to go beyond these requirements,
stopping at least a year early and eradicating all plastic bags, not just the light ones.