Written by  Iris W.

Starting in April, our plastic bags will be increasing in price: from 10 cents to 30 cents a bag. If that sounds like a lot for a simple plastic carrier bag, well—that’s kind of the point! Allow us to explain.

Back in 2016, EU regulations regarding plastic bags changed: it was no longer allowed to hand them out for free, even with a purchase. The idea behind this new policy was to discourage plastic consumption, and crucially, it worked: the demand for plastic bags dropped by a whopping 80%. At ABC, we complied by charging 10 cents for our plastic carrier bags. This was a symbolic amount more than anything else, as it didn’t even cover our production costs.

These days, production costs of pretty much everything, including our bags, are on the rise. This is part of the reason we decided to raise the prices. But the other, arguably more important part, is that we want to encourage you to reuse your bag. Bring it with you the next time you drop in for a browse, and use it to carry a few more books home. Or—if you’re on a book-buying ban after last visit’s binge (no judgment!)—use it for other things. If you follow us on social media, you may have seen a few posts highlighting alternative uses to inspire you. Plastic pollution is a huge problem worldwide, and there is no planet B, so it’s crucial we all step up where we can.

Not interested in plastic bags, especially now that they’ll be pricier? Worry not: we have plenty of durable alternatives. Our own ABC Booklover Bag, of course, made of sturdy cloth and with convenient long handles, is available for only €7.50. And that’s not the only option! We stock cloth bags from companies like Out of Print, which specializes in bookish apparel and accessories, and Paperblanks, known for their beautiful notebooks and agendas. Our The Hague store also sells works from Marianne Maakt, an independent creator who hand makes all kinds of wonderful (and practical!) bags.

The moral of the story is: while you’ll still be able to grab a plastic bag at our stores (we live in a rainy country, after all, and books don’t take well to getting wet), we want to inspire you to use other bags or bring your own and not throw away the plastic one after a single use.

By the way—if you’re using our ABC bags – plastic or otherwise – in creative ways, we’d love to be tagged in your social media pictures!