Big retailers in green push

Major retailers in Singapore are moving towards reducing plastic bag usage, some more tentatively than others.

At the forefront is FairPrice, which began its Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) initiative in 2007, called the "FairPrice Green Rewards" scheme. Since the scheme began, the supermarket chain has saved more than 73 million plastic bags. It gives customers using reusable bags a 10-cent discount, with a minimum $10 purchase.

Said Mr Jonas Kor, director of the firm's corporate communications and brand department: "During the first half of 2017, FairPrice has saved 5.6 million plastic bags and given over $280,000 in Green Rewards rebates this year."

A spokesman for Dairy Farm, which runs Cold Storage and Giant stores, said that Cold Storage will participate in the BYO Singapore campaign by giving out free reusable bags to all customers who spend more than $20 every Monday this month.

Mr Pee Kar Wee, head of customer relationship management and business intelligence at Dairy Farm, said: "In the last couple of months, we have had customers writing in to us and asking why we aren't running something (like BYO Singapore)."

"A couple of years back... we literally had to beg customers to use reusable bags," he added. "We are trying and experimenting... and based on the feedback we get, we may implement something more far-reaching."

A spokesman for Sheng Siong said it worked with green group Plastic-Lite Singapore for "The BYOB Shoppers" event earlier this year, when volunteers from the group distributed reusable bags to shoppers. The supermarket is looking into the possibility of joining BYO Singapore.

Jose Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2017, with the headline 'Big retailers in green push'. Print Edition | Subscribe