Impose charges from 3rd plastic bag

People sometimes take more plastic bags than they need.
People sometimes take more plastic bags than they need.PHOTO: ST FILE

Recently, there have been a number of articles on plastic waste. There have also been calls to impose charges on the use of plastic bags (Three MPs renew call to charge for use of plastic bags, Aug 7).

However, these suggestions have not gained ground, and it has been argued that people living in high-rise buildings need plastic bags to hygienically dispose of their wet waste down garbage chutes.

Yes, we do need plastic bags. However, people sometimes take more than they need, and many bags are left at home in cupboards, drawers and other places.

I lived in Canada almost 30 years ago when my husband was sent by his company to work there. At that time, the supermarkets in Canada provided two plastic bags free of charge. Additional bags were charged at five cents each. It was a small amount, but it made me become more conscious and try to reduce my use of plastic bags.

To prevent inconvenience to those who genuinely forgot to bring their own bags, there was a bin in the supermarket where shoppers placed their clean and dry bags for others.

A charge on every plastic bag may not be acceptable to all. Hence, I suggest that a charge be imposed only from the third plastic bag requested. A bin could also be placed in supermarkets and shops for shoppers to leave their clean and dry bags for others.

Khong Sow Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2019, with the headline 'Impose charges from 3rd plastic bag'. Print Edition | Subscribe