5-cent charge per plastic bag more appropriate

Supermarkets here are discussing a plastic bag charge of between 5 cents and 10 cents (Supermarts in talks to charge for plastic bags; Sept 24).

They should carefully consider how much is to be charged.

A check with a leading plastic bag supplier here showed that plastic bags similar to the ones FairPrice uses cost about $1.20 for a pack of 28 pieces, or about four cents per piece.

If supermarkets charge 10 cents for each bag, it would only spur people to buy bags in packs from the supplier for use when they go shopping.

This will defeat the primary goal of the charge, which is to reduce plastic bag use and save the environment.

The supermarkets may also be seen as profiting at the expense of consumers.

A charge of five cents may be more appropriate as a deterrent and to encourage the use of recyclable eco-friendly bags.

Jeff Tan Hong Liak

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline '5-cent charge per plastic bag more appropriate'. Subscribe