Netherlands retailer Albert Heijn has announced it is to remove all plastic bags from its fruit and vegetable departments and replace them with reusable, washable alternatives. In a statement, the company said the bags would disappear from its stores by the end of 2021, a move that will end the use of around 130m individual bags – or 243 tos of plastic – per year. A return system for the 31m bags used every year to deliver groceries to homes will also be introduced, it said, resulting in about 645 tons of plastic per annum being recycled responsibly.
According to the statement: “Everyone knows the plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable department Handy for loose apples or green beans, but bad for the environment if you don’t recycle them properly.”
For a two-week period from mid-April, all Albert Heijn customers in the Netherlands will receive a free reusable bag for fresh produce that is weighed in store before being purchased.