In 2016, nearly 418 million disposable plastic bags were distributed at retail checkouts across Switzerland. By 2018, the number was less than 57 million, a drop of 86%, according the Swiss Retail Federation.
Most of the decline occurred after a group of retailers in Switzerland signed an agreement with the Swiss Retail Federation to charge for disposable plastic bags in 2016.
By 2017, the number of plastic bags departing through retailers’ doors was down to 66 million.
The agreement specifies that no disposable plastic bags be given to customers for free. Customers requesting them must pay 5 cents per bag. More than 30 retailers have now signed the agreement.
According to the Swiss Retail Federation, the agreement shows how voluntary initiatives can work, avoiding the need for outright bans.
It expects the number of disposable bags to decline by a further 70% to 80% between now and 2025.
Only single use plastic straws, single-use plastic lined coffee cups, plastic bottles, plastic lunch containers, the free bags supermarkets provide for fresh produce, the plastic wrapping on most organic produce – to stop people passing it off as cheaper non-organic produce, and the polystyrene trays used for displaying meat to go then.