German department store chain Karstadt Kaufhof to abolish plastic bags / Amazon heads a different way / Aldi products will not contain microplastics in future
More and more retailers in Germany are banning plastic bags from their shops, arguing that they want to save the environment but without taking a close look at the alternatives (see of 19.09.2019). The Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof group ( has decided to abolish all disposable plastic carrier bags from its department stores (around 170 across Germany), including its sports shops restaurant subsidiaries, from 2020.

CEO Stephan Fanderl explained that the decision to abandon plastic bags was not made for economic reasons – rather, plastic bags “simply no longer fit in with the times” nor with the company’s business model, which would increasingly be implementing sustainability criteria. For example, logistics solutions for delivering orders to customers are currently being tested at several locations, with the aim of achieving CO2-neutral deliveries – details on this are not yet available.

Kai Falk, managing director of retail trade association Handelsverband (HDE), sees a particular challenge in the initiative of department stores and fashion houses to do without plastic bags. In contrast to the food trade, these sectors were marked by impulse purchases where customers do not have their own bags with them.
Amazon using more plastic for deliveries in Germany
While plastic packaging is not exactly the trend in retail, Amazon is swimming against the current (see of 27.03.2019), betting on “plastics instead of cardboard”. For smaller parcels, the online giant has introduced plastic film bags for the German market that replace paper envelopes. The new packaging material, which had previously come under fire in the UK and US, has now been used “for several months” in deliveries to German customers, a spokesperson confirmed to Manager Magazin. However, the proportion would be comparatively small across all Amazon packages sent out, with most goods still being delivered in cardboard packaging.

According to the German business magazine, while Amazon argues that there are efficiency gains in logistics and other advantages by switching from cardboard to plastic for thin packages, recycling expert Rolf Buschmann from the environmental association BUND considers the decision to be “not target-oriented”. The online retailer has recently committed to becoming climate-neutral in logistics by 2030.

According to UK media, there are apparently considerable problems with recycling Amazon’s flexible plastic bags in the UK, as they have so far ended up almost exclusively in household waste and then in incineration plants or landfills. The Washington Post reports that these films would block up recycling facilities because of the need to separate plastic films from paper stickers. Amazon sees no such problems for Germany, as plastic packaging would generally be recycled via the yellow sacks or containers of Germany’s DSD collection system.
Aldi abandons microplastics
German discount supermarket Aldi has had neither disposable plastic bags nor the corresponding paper variants for more than two years now, but the company is aiming to reduce plastics consumption. It recently announced that cotton swabs sold in its German branches will not have plastic stems or packaging anymore (see of 05.09.2019).

The next anti-plastic measure for Aldi is that it will label products that are free of microplastics. This is already the case for baby care products. The plan is to gradually remove solid microplastic particles and liquid synthetic plastics from all cosmetic and personal care products as well as from detergents and cleaning agents. By 2022, these materials are to be replaced by environmentally friendly alternatives in all cosmetics – 60% of Aldi cosmetics do not contain microplastics currently.
19.09.2019 [243359-0]
Published on 19.09.2019
Einzelhandel: Karstadt Kaufhof schafft Plastiktüten abGerman version of this article...

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