SGS Search: ‘Ban on plastic bags leads to an annual CO2 reduction of 26 kilotons’

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water State has assigned consultancy firm SGS Search to conduct a research on the decrease of carbon emissions as a result of the ban on plastic bags in shops. Since January of 2016, the Dutch government banned the use of plastic bags in shops. The research results state that the ban on plastic shopping bags in the Netherlands has led to a reduction of 26 kilotons of carbon emissions. As a consultancy firm, SGS Search actively works at reducing their own CO2 with the help of the CO2 Performance Ladder.

In their research, SGS has focused on the question: ‘What is the environmental impact when it comes to the difference in carbon emissions caused by the shift from the production of plastic towards the production of paper bags?’ 371 shopkeepers have participated in the study. The complete research report, available in Dutch only, can be downloaded here.

Diminishing environmental impact with the ban on plastic bags

The consultancy agency has studied the shift to using paper bags, as a consequence of the ban on plastic bags. Moreover, the researchers studied carbon emissions resulting from the production of different types of plastic bags and the production of paper bags. Based on the calculations of SGS, the ban on plastic bags leads to an annual CO2 reduction of 26 kilotons in total. This number is equal to the annual CO2 reduction of 3.250 households or 118 million kilometers of driving in cars on fossil fuels, SGS claims.

The decline in production of plastic bags leads to an annual CO2 reduction of 31 kilotons. However, the production of paper bags there has been an upsurge of 5 kilotons of carbon emissions per year. This is due to the growing usage of paper bags in shops. Especially in Dutch fast food restaurants, paper bags are increasingly being used. Furthermore, an increase of 40 percent of carbon emissions was found in the production of laminated paper bags. According to SGS, the usage of laminated paper bags is relatively small compared to regular paper bags.


The research also shows that the majority of shop owners react positively on the ban on plastic bags. The shop owners also notice that more and more customers are becoming aware of the damaging effects of plastic on the environment. Another development that was concluded based on the study, is that more customers are bringing their own paper or canvas bags to shops. The shop owners consider this a positive development.

Source: SGS Search