Onus on supermarkets to provide proper bags

I am disappointed that the four main supermarket chains here are mulling over a plastic bag charge (Supermarts in talks to charge for plastic bags; Sept 24).

It is the responsibility of the supermarket to supply the right type of grocery bags, not the customer.

The industry switched to plastic bags in the 1970s because they are lighter, stronger and cheaper than other bags.

If they are deemed to pollute the environment, then it is the duty of the industry to change back to paper bags or biodegradable plastic bags.

It is against fair business practice to charge paying customers for this.

The plastic bag is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. The reason why trillions of plastic bags are used worldwide is plastic's superiority over paper.

The debate over plastic bags has been going on for decades.

Environmentalists tend to overlook the merits of plastic bags and fail to pinpoint the root cause of the ecological problems - human neglect and abuse.

If the goal is to protect the environment, perhaps supermarket chains should start using paper bags.

McDonald's switched from polystyrene cups to paper cups for hot drinks without charging customers. Why can't supermarket chains do the same for bags?

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline 'Onus on supermarkets to provide proper bags'. Print Edition | Subscribe