Want plastic bags? Pay for them

With all this talk of cutting down the usage of plastic bags, it is surprising and frustrating to see shoppers still asking for extra plastic bags after the cashiers have bagged their items.

Often, shoppers help themselves to extra plastic bags when free bags are made available, such as when they buy fruit and vegetables (Shops with plastic bag charge could lose out, by Mr Francis Cheng; Sept 7).

A popular supermarket once had to put up a notice advising customers to refrain from taking more plastic bags than necessary.

During a recent trip to Japan, I visited a supermarket and found that customers were required to pay for plastic bags.

Plastic bags of various sizes were stacked near the cashier and the prices for them were displayed. Only the smallest bag was free.

Shoppers who needed plastic bags would just take what they wanted and pay for them.

Many of the shoppers would take along their own carrier and cooler bags. Few would take the small free plastic bags.

This method is efficient. Shoppers must be prepared to pay for the plastic bags they take.

We all need to be aware of the problems these plastic bags cause to the environment and the earth.

Ang Kah Chin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2017, with the headline 'Want plastic bags? Pay for them'. Print Edition | Subscribe