Denmark’s 'sustainable island' to scrap plastic bags

The Local Denmark
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Denmark’s 'sustainable island' to scrap plastic bags
File photo: Jacob Ehrbahn/Polfoto/Ritzau

All shoppers on the island of Samsø will from next year be asked to use shopping bags made of fabric, rather than plastic.


Plastic bags will be removed from all shops on the island, with shoppers instead using organic bags made of cotton, reports broadcaster DR.

“We are avoiding plastic carrier bags in the entire trade sector,” project leader Gunnar Mikkelsen of Samsø Municipality told DR.

The idea to drop plastic bags came from the island’s residents, with plastic carrier bags responsible for a large proportion of refuse on the 114 km² island.

Plastic bags will now be replaced by the organic alternative, according to the report.

“It is a bag you can take and keep, but if you forget your bag there will be others available. If you forget a lot and have ten lying around at home, you can also hand them in at shops,” Mikkelsen said.

The Danish Society for Nature Conservation told DR that it was sceptical over the plan, citing the viability of cotton bags from a sustainability perspective.

“Right now there is actually some doubt as to what is the best option. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency [Miljøstyrelsen, ed.] has initiated an analysis to find out the best alternative to plastic bags,” said Sine Beuse Fauerby, environmental policy advisor with the Danish Society for Nature Conservation.

“We do not think this is the best option for the environment. There are also issues with cotton bags, as these are also manufactured,” Fauerby added.

Plastic bags will be a thing of the past on the island by February 2018, according to the municipality’s plan.

Samsø has been developing its sustainable energy supply since the early 2000s, and aims to be entirely free of fossil fuel energy by 2030 – twenty years before the national target.

The island, which has received 50,000 kroner from a green energy conversion pool funded by the NRGi power provider, is not the first Danish island to scrap plastic bags – they have already disappeared from the island of Møn.

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