Malacca to ban plastic bags at supermarkets and shopping malls

The "no plastic bag" ruling will be introduced in all shopping malls and supermarkets in Malacca from Jan 1, 2016.
The "no plastic bag" ruling will be introduced in all shopping malls and supermarkets in Malacca from Jan 1, 2016.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MALACCA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Consumers in Malacca will have to bring along their own shopping bags after the state government declares a total ban on plastic bags made from petroleum by-products at all supermarkets and shopping malls from Friday (Jan 1).

Previously, all shopping premises in Malacca had a "No Plastic Bag Day" on Fridays and Saturdays.

State Education, Higher Education, Science and Technology, Green Technology and Innovation chairman Md Yunos Husin said the ruling would be imposed in all shopping malls and supermarkets.

"From Jan 1, consumers will have to bring along their own shopping bags or the cash counters will supply them with biodegradable bags made of plant-based materials," he said on Tuesday (Dec 29).

He said the move was an initiative by the state government to reduce wastage and in line with Malacca's status as a green technology state.

"Our landfills and drains are filled with paper bags and this doesn't serve our ambitious plan to be a fully green state," he said.

Datuk Md Yunos said discussions were held two years ago with representatives from all malls and supermarkets before the implementation.

"At the same time, factories and manufacturers in the state will also be encouraged to reduce packaging materials made of plastic," he said.

He said the ruling also would affect hawkers and eateries in the state as they would not be allowed to use polystyrene packaging.

Meanwhile, Malacca Bio-Technology Corporation's CEO Badrul Hisham Badrudin said biodegradable plastic bags and food containers would be supplied to shopping premises and eateries.

He said the corporation had conducted research and development for years to ensure that their plastic bags and food packages available for consumers were environmentally friendly.

"We have also suggested to the state government to look into a mechanism where the fee for yearly business licences could be reduced for hawkers adopting green packaging," he said.

Mr Badrul said the supplies for plastic bags and food packaging were sufficient as the plan to shift to environmentally-friendly materials was done a few years ago.