Charge for use of upmarket plastic carriers too

The call against the excessive use of plastic bags often targets those given freely by supermarkets and small shops ("Life with plastic, not fantastic"; last Tuesday).

However, department stores and larger retailers, especially of branded goods, do the same with plastic carrier bags with each customer purchase.

These bags are of higher quality, classy looking and are attractively designed to project an image.

It is not uncommon for a customer to ask for more bags than needed; and in the face of competition and welcomed patronage, such requests are acceded to.

Though these bags are not always suitable as rubbish bags, they eventually get disposed of, too.

While it is arguable if this number rivals that of the ubiquitous flimsy plastic bag, they are no less detrimental to the environment as rubbish.

We must not be selective in our approach to mitigate the damage caused by the plastic bag scourge.

Any move to charge customers for bags has to be applied judiciously, so as not to become an additional cost to the low-income during their regular grocery shopping, while those with deeper pockets get away with practically collecting plastic bags at sales around town.

Ultimately, all parties, retailers and shoppers, have to work together to save the planet.

Ooi Mun Kong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2016, with the headline 'Charge for use of upmarket plastic carriers too'. Print Edition | Subscribe