Finland Seeks To Win The Battle Against Plastic Bags

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Finland Seeks To Win The Battle Against Plastic Bags

The use of plastic shopping bags in Finland fell by approximately 90 million units between 2017 and 2018, however more work is needed in order for the country to hit its 2025 consumption targets, a new study has found.

Kaupan Liitto, the Finnish commerce federation, using data from Finnish recycling authority Pakkauskierrätys RINKI Oy, said that the consumption of plastic bags in 2018 stood at 864 million, down from 952 million in 2017.

Lower Consumption

This follows measures implemented by the Finnish government in line with an EU directive that requires Member States to take action to reduce the consumption of plastic bags to a maximum of 40 per person by 2025.

Currently, the consumption of plastic bags per person in Finland is 68 per person, down from 71 per person in 2017.

"Consumers seem to have quickly changed their consumer behaviour as a result of campaigns about plastic use, but there is still work to be done to reach the 40-plastic-bag-per-person goal," commented Kaupan Liitto's Marja Ola.


Ola added that while retail sales increased by approximately 4% between 2017 and 2018, the consumption of plastic bags decreased in the same period.

For example, at Lidl Finland, plastic bag consumption was 4% less in 2018 than in 2017, while net sales rose by 7.1% in the same period.

Cross-Retail Initiative

Plastic bag reductions have also been seen in other retail markets – at Suomalaisessa Kirjakaupassa, a bookstore chain, plastic bag usage dropped 26% between 2017 and 2018, and by 80% compared to 2014.

At the Sokos department store chain, plastic bag usage fell by 40%, between 2017 and 2018, while at Mustin ja Mirrin, a pet store chain, plastic bag usage halved in the period, while net sales increased 7%.


Kaupan Liitto also said that there has been a large-scale reduction in the consumption of ultra-lightweight plastic bags in the grocery space – for fruit and vegetables, as well as other fresh items – from 102 per person to 89 per person.

At K-Group, for example, the use of lightweight plastic bags was reduced by 69 million units last year, with the introduction of a new measure that meant customers had to ask at the checkout for said bags.

© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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