Watsons to charge customers 10 cents for plastic bags every Tuesday from Dec 1

The policy takes effect at all of Watsons' 100 stores here from Dec 1.
The policy takes effect at all of Watsons' 100 stores here from Dec 1.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Beauty, health and wellness retailer Watsons will soon start charging customers who ask for plastic bags 10 cents for each transaction.

The policy takes effect at all of Watsons' 100 stores here from Dec 1, said the retailer on Wednesday (Nov 25).

For now, the charge applies only on Tuesdays, which are designated by the retailer as Bring Your Own Bag days.

All proceeds from the charge will be donated to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore in support of its conservation efforts.

"As a major player in the health and beauty arena, we understand the responsibility we have towards the environment.

"Taking ownership of our planet starts with small consistent actions, and that is where we are directing our efforts to," said Ms Irene Lau, managing director of Watsons Singapore.

In 2019, close to 13 million plastic bags were issued by Watsons.

Watsons also aims to increase the recycled plastic content in its plastic bags to 50 per cent by the first quarter of 2021.

The retailer's Hong-Kong based parent company A.S. Watson is one of 450 businesses worldwide to sign the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment, in which companies pledge to reduce plastic waste.

Customers who want to swop their plastic bags for a reusable one can purchase a Watsons shopping bag at $1.20 each.

The reusable bag is made of 100 per cent recyclable plastic and has been on sale since last month.

Other retailers have also launched their own initiatives to reduce plastic bag usage.

Supermarket giant FairPrice said this month that it will extend its "no plastic bag" initiative for a year from Nov 12 following positive responses from customers.

Customers who visit certain outlets and require plastic bags must pay 20 cents for each transaction at FairPrice, FairPrice Finest and FairPrice Xtra supermarkets.

The charge is 10 cents for each transaction at Cheers and FairPrice Xpress convenience stores.

There are 11 FairPrice, FairPrice Finest and FairPrice Xtra supermarkets, 12 Cheers stores and one FairPrice Xpress store taking part in this initiative.

Similarly, fashion chain H&M said last July that it will charge customers in Singapore 10 cents for each plastic or paper bag.

All proceeds from H&M's shopping bag charge are donated to the WWF-Singapore Plastic ACTion (Pact) initiative - an industry-wide initiative to reduce plastic use by 2030.