FairPrice should cut its own usage of plastic bags

FairPrice will charge 10 cents or 20 cents per transaction for plastic bags at seven FairPrice and Cheers outlets, and the money will be donated to charity.
FairPrice will charge 10 cents or 20 cents per transaction for plastic bags at seven FairPrice and Cheers outlets, and the money will be donated to charity.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

It is heartening to know that FairPrice, in a month-long trial at some of its outlets, is making a move to cut the use of plastic bags by charging 10 cents or 20 cents for them (Plastic bag fee at some FairPrice outlets, Sept 5).

However, for the move to be credible, FairPrice should first set its own house in order.

Go to its supermarkets and you can see the extensive use of plastic bags, particularly in the fresh fruit, vegetable and fish departments. Items are pre-packed in plastic bags. Just imagine the number of such bags used.

FairPrice, as the largest supermarket chain in Singapore, should take the lead by coming up with ways to use fewer plastic bags at its supermarkets.

One suggestion is for customers, where possible, to take their intended purchases, perhaps with the help of reusable trays, to the cashier for weighing and pricing.

Once done, all the purchases of fruits and vegetables can be put into a single plastic bag.

If the customer wants each individual item to be packed in a separate plastic bag, then he can be charged more accordingly.

Like all new initiatives, there will be some initial unhappiness, but customers will soon get used to it.

Instead of taking the easy way out by placing the onus fully on customers, I hope supermarkets can do better.

Ronnie Lim Ah Bee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2019, with the headline 'FairPrice should cut its own usage of plastic bags'. Print Edition | Subscribe