Four supermarket chains launch campaign to reduce plastic bag use

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, holding the One Less Plastic reusable bag which carries a barcode that tracks usage and behaviour of shoppers, during its launch on Dec 12, 2018. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Four major supermarket chains here have teamed up with the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and DBS Bank to launch a campaign to reduce plastic bag usage in Singapore.

The One Less Plastic campaign, launched on Wednesday (Dec 12), is being fronted by FairPrice, Sheng Siong, Prime Group - which runs Mahota and Prime Supermarket - and Dairy Farm Group, which runs Cold Storage and Giant.

It consists of a series of roadshows to encourage consumers to use reusable bags. They will be held at 16 participating supermarket outlets and will run from Saturday (Dec 15) to Feb 3 next year.

During the roadshows, shoppers who spend more than $50 at the supermarkets can redeem a reusable bag which features a barcode to keep track of its use. The tracking will be rolled out at all outlets under the participating chains from next March.

A pilot batch of 40,000 bags will be distributed during this period, with more to come if the campaign is successful.

Shoppers can also enter a lucky draw to win $3,000 worth of vouchers by completing a survey and submitting a photo of themselves using the One Less Plastic reusable bag from Saturday to March 3 next year.

Data collected from the tracking will be used to plan the future of the campaign and inform consumers of their behaviour patterns, said Ms Isabella Loh, who chairs the SEC, at the launch event held in One Farrer Hotel on Wednesday.

A pilot batch of 40,000 bags will be distributed from Dec 15 to Feb 3 next year, with more to come if the campaign is successful. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said at the launch: "Getting consumers to change their behaviour is not an easy task. Legislation and imposing plastic bag charges are not always the most effective or sustainable ways to convince people of the need to change.

"It is better to educate and persuade people about why they should reduce excessive use of plastic bags so that the behavioural change can be sustained over time."

Sheng Siong chief executive Lim Hock Chee said in Mandarin: "Besides reusable bags, our counter staff are also trained to discourage shoppers from double bagging their groceries. We tell customers that plastic bags are more durable than before, so one bag is enough."

Ms Loh said future campaigns will focus on plastic bottles, packaging and food waste.

The SEC also announced an enhancement to its environmental certification programme Eco-Office.

Eco-Office Plus will measure staff engagement on top of the original programme's assessment of a company's waste management and energy and water usage.

Firms will be able to track their progress through a mobile app called EcoLifeSG.

Companies can also tap the SEC's e-concierge service for consultation or advice on reducing their carbon footprint, especially small and medium-sized enterprises that may not have the resources to devote to sustainability initiatives.

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