Germany will prohibit supermarkets from handing out plastic bags to customers at the checkout from 2022. The German parliament, the Bundestag, agreed on Thursday.
Lightweight plastic bags of the kind that customers usually collect at the checkout should be banned after a transition period extended from six to 12 months at the request of the industry.
Sturdy reusable bags and thin plastic bags used in the fruit and vegetable departments are excluded from the ban.
“The plastic bag is the epitome of wasting resources,” said Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, who initiated the ban.
“Good alternatives are shopping baskets, washable cloth bags for fruit and vegetables and reusable boxes for products from the fresh departments.
The ban is only symbolic for the WWF environmental organization. Plastic bags account for only 1 percent of plastic consumption in Germany.