A shame to axe FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme

I commend FairPrice for its efforts to inject momentum into Singapore's significant plastic waste problem with its new Plastic Bag Management Programme.

However, I am concerned that the termination of its FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme under the new programme is a case of "two steps forward, one step back".

The Green Rewards Scheme offers customers a 10-cent rebate when they use their own bags.

There is strong evidence to support the effectiveness of measures that enable people to internalise the cost of excessive plastic usage on the environment, and the benefits of reducing it.

In the absence of a plastic bag tax, I believe that the Green Rewards Scheme is the next best option for Singapore.

Indeed, it has helped save an average of 10.8 million bags per year in the last three years.

The success of the Green Rewards Scheme is arguably because there is a clear financial benefit, and people respond rationally based on the structure of incentives they are confronted with.

It seems rather regrettable to terminate the scheme.

I urge FairPrice to retain the Green Rewards Scheme or explore another scheme that combines incentives with voluntary measures.

Jefferson Ng Jin Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2018, with the headline 'A shame to axe FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe