System of rewards and fees can curb plastic use

It was disheartening to learn that Singapore's plastic recycling rate lags far behind other developed countries (1.76b plastic items used here yearly: Poll; Aug 1).

Many Singapore retailers, supermarket chains and customers may not easily change their behaviour over single-use plastic bags in the near future.

To help reduce the use of plastic bags, the National Environment Agency (NEA) could financially reward retailers that give incentives to customers who bring their own bags.

Retailers will be thus able to offset the cost of giving more monetary rewards, and more customers will be interested in bringing their own bags.

Retailers could impose a small fee of 10 cents to 20 cents on each customer who wants to use plastic bags for their purchases.

This fee will make customers think twice before using plastic bags, especially for small purchases that can be easily taken away.

The NEA could also reward or recognise retailers that use biodegradable bags or make an effort in their business practices to reduce single-use plastics.

I hope all the stakeholders will make a real effort to reduce plastic usage and protect our wonderful garden city.

Jackson Han Shun Chou