Forum: Other ways to cut plastic bag use apart from charging a fee

Groceries packed in plastic bags at NTUC FairPrice Xtra at Vivocity on Sept 4, 2019.
Groceries packed in plastic bags at NTUC FairPrice Xtra at Vivocity on Sept 4, 2019.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

I am dismayed that FairPrice, founded by the labour movement "with a social mission to moderate the cost of living in Singapore", has chosen a path that adds more cost to its customers by charging for the use of its plastic bags.

The fee will affect the lower-income groups more than the better-off groups.

Since the objective is to reduce excessive use of plastic bags, consumers should not be charged if they do not take an "excessive" number of plastic bags.

A less abrasive approach could have been taken since FairPrice's other objective is to "encourage a change in customer behaviour".

This can be done in ways other than monetising the use of plastic bags, such as through rewards, rebates and public education.

Mary Ong Bee Leng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2019, with the headline 'Other ways to cut plastic bag use apart from charging a fee'. Print Edition | Subscribe