All Cheers, FairPrice Xpress outlets to charge for plastic bags from next year

Since the introduction of the programme, 30 million plastic bags have been saved. PHOTO: FAIRPRICE

SINGAPORE - Customers at all 167 Cheers and FairPrice Xpress outlets will have to pay for plastic bags from next year.

Cheers and FairPrice Xpress outlets will charge 10 cents for plastic bags per transaction, a spokesman for NTUC FairPrice, which runs the two stores, said on Friday (Nov 12).

This is an expansion of the grocery retailer's No Plastic Bag initiative introduced in 2019 mandating payment for plastic bags at 24 FairPrice, Cheers and FairPrice Xpress stores.

NTUC FairPrice charges 20 cents per transaction for plastic bags at selected FairPrice supermarkets.

This initiative is part of FairPrice's larger sustainability strategy, the Plastic Bag Management Programme, which aims to reduce excessive use of plastic bags and encourage behavioural change in customers.

Since the introduction of the programme, 30 million plastic bags have been saved, and seven out of 10 customers are willing to take along their own bags, said the NTUC FairPrice spokesman.

The revenue earned from the expansion of the No Plastic Bag initiative will go towards supporting green programmes.

One of these is the National Parks Board's (NParks) OneMillionTrees movement.

On Friday, NTUC FairPrice Foundation, the charity arm of NTUC FairPrice, announced a $180,000 contribution to the NParks Garden City Fund and OneMillionTrees at a tree-planting event held in Bedok Reservoir Park.

The money will fund the planting of 600 trees as well as outreach programmes to promote the awareness of and encourage conservation.

The tree-planting event was attended by Mr Tan Kiat How, Minister of State for National Development, and Communications and Information; Mr Tang Tuck Weng, assistant chief executive of NParks' parks management and lifestyle cluster; and Mr Seah Kian Peng, FairPrice Group CEO.

Fifty native trees were planted at the event, and the rest of the trees are slated to be planted in collaboration with Fei Yue Community Services by the end of 2022.

Mr Seah said: "We took the lead in being the first supermarket in Singapore to charge for plastic bags to reduce excessive use while encouraging behavioural change in consumers and inspiring other retailers in the industry to do their part."

He added: "We (hope to) encourage more customers to join us in this sustainability movement."

Besides NTUC Fairprice, retailers such as Uniqlo, Watsons, H&M and The Body Shop are also charging for single-use carrier bags.

A 2018 study by the Singapore Environment Council found that shoppers here take 820 million plastic bags from supermarkets each year, or 146 bags per person.

The excessive consumption of disposables adds to carbon emissions, which are harmful to the earth.

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