Iki, Lithuania's largest retail chain by the number of stores, is set to eliminate single-use plastic plates, cups, cutlery and straws from its stores in the near future.
© Iki

Other retailers plan to gradually do so by the middle of 2021 when Lithuania will have to eventually implement the EU directive and cut the use of single-use plastics.

Iki says it stopped replenishing the stock of such disposables in early August, but leftover items are still available in some stores, Berta Caikauskaite, the chain's head of communications, said in a press release on Thursday.

"Shoppers in all Lithuanian city with Iki stores will soon feel the changes. Soon, there will be no single-use plastic products left in any of the 229 Iki and Iki Express stores soon," she said.

Iki plans to offer more environmentally-friendly alternatives to shoppers.

"We already offer disposable paper dishes and wooden utensils to our customers. Disposable dishes made from sugar cane are already available in some stores," she said.

Maxima Grupe, the largest retail chain in the Baltics, said earlier this month that it would stop selling plastic dishes, straws and bags at its stores in the Curonian Spit.

"By 2021, we will gradually remove single-use plastics from the market and will offer alternatives made from recycled materials, including paper, sugarcane, hemp etc," Rima Aukstuolyte, PR spokeswoman for Maxima LT, told BNS Lithuania.

The Rimi chain plans to remove single-use plastic dishes and straws by 2020. The company's head of public relations Giedre Buivydiene says Rimi is gradually replacing its assortment and is introducing alternatives.

The Norfa chain, however, says it will remove plastics "when the common legislation will come into force for everyone."

"Plastic products are currently very popular as wooden, glass or paper alternatives are much more expensive," Darius Ryliskis, spokesman for Norfa, told BNS Lithuania.

Under the EU directive adopted earlier this year, member states are required to significantly reduce the use of plastic food and drink containers and by 2026.

Lithuania, just like other EU member states, has to transpose the EU directive into national law over the next two years, by June, 2021.

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