NEA proposes mandatory 5 to 10 cents per plastic bag at supermarkets

·Editorial Team
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Plastic bag and shopping trolley. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The National Environment Agency (NEA) on Thursday (27 January) invited the public to share their views on a proposal for supermarkets to impose a minimum 5 to 10 cents charge for each plastic bag taken at check-out counters.

NEA is proposing for the mandatory plastic bag charge at supermarkets to take effect by the first half of 2023.

Under the charging model, supermarket operators would stipulate a minimum charge per bag, with the charge proportional to the number of disposable carrier bags taken.

The charge would only apply to purchases made at supermarket outlets and not online grocery purchases.

“This is to strike a balance between nudging shoppers to reduce the number of disposable carrier bags they take and minimising the cost impact on shoppers who make large purchases and lower-income households,” NEA said on the proposal.

The aim is to promote the use of reusable bags and help reduce the amount of disposable carrier bags taken in Singapore.

A bag charge in Singapore will contribute towards the objective in the Singapore Green Plan 2030 to reduce the amount of waste to landfill per capita per day by 20 per cent by 2026 and 30 per cent by 2030.

In 2019 and 2020, households and trade premises in Singapore threw away about 200,000 tonnes of disposables each year, with disposable bags making up about two-thirds of this.

When developing the policy proposal for the plastic bag charge at supermarkets, NEA consulted over 1,000 stakeholders and studied the experiences of other countries.

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