Colruyt Group decides to use reusable bags for loose fruit and vegetables

Colruyt Group is the first Belgian retailer to decide to only offer reusable bags for loose fruit and vegetables. This means that Colruyt, Bio-Planet, Spar, OKay and OKay Compact will stop using single-use plastic bags. We estimate that we will reduce the number of plastic bags by 150 million on an annual basis. By making this radical choice in favour of reusability, we are paving the way towards ease and clarity for those customers who want to make more conscious choices.

Working towards 100% reusable bags

We will therefore stop using the current single-use plastic bags (in Flanders) or biobased plastic bags (in Brussels and Wallonia); we have also decided not to use single-use paper bags either. Bio-Planet and 21 pilot stores (8 Colruyt, 8 OKay and 5 Spar) will only offer reusable bags in the fresh produce department from 19 June. All other stores will follow suit in October. Those stores that have already switched will offer their customers a free set of 5 reusable bags via Xtra. From 5 June, they will be available to purchase in all stores.

Reusable bag

Convenient and washable bags

In addition to sustainability, the new bags will also offer efficiency and convenience. Another special feature is the barcode that will deduct the weight of the bag (approx. 37 g). Customers will therefore only pay for their fruit and vegetables, not for the packaging. Bags can easily be rinsed under the tap or put in the washing machine at 30°C to keep them clean.

Can be used over and over again

The reusable bags that were selected are made of 100% polyester, are extremely strong and can easily carry 4 kg. The independent organisation Bureau Veritas has tested the bags and confirmed that the bags don’t show any wear and tear even after being used hundreds of times.

Furthermore, the LCA (life-cycle analysis) study shows that polyester bags have the smallest total environmental impact over their entire life cycle. Being reused just 9 times makes our polyester bag more sustainable than a single use paper bag which is heavier and requires a lot more energy to produce. The more we reuse, the more we can all make a real difference together.

Read more about our LCA assessment and about our decision to use polyester

Opting for a smaller footprint

Within the company, we have long been taking measures to reduce our residual waste, with great success.  Reusable bags allow us to reduce our footprint even further, by reducing the amount of plastic circulating in waste streams, by encouraging customers to reuse and by preventing litter. That is why we are convinced that our customers will appreciate this solution. We remain committed to our packaging principles of avoiding and reducing packaging; and where we use packaging, we only use raw materials that have been recycled or can themselves be recycled and that are reusable and renewable.

Read more about our diminishing residual waste

With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Responsible consumption & production Climate action