FairPrice extends 'no plastic bag' drive to 25 outlets for one year from Nov 11

Madam Foo Fah Yin, 70, using reusable bags for her groceries on Sept 16, 2019.
Madam Foo Fah Yin, 70, using reusable bags for her groceries on Sept 16, 2019.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - FairPrice is extending its "no plastic bag" drive to 25 outlets for one year from next Monday, the supermarket giant said on Monday (Nov 4).

The extension follows a month-long trial it conducted from Sept 16 to Oct 16 at seven outlets.

The 25 outlets that will be charging customers for plastic bags are 12 FairPrice supermarkets, five Cheers stores and eight FairPrice Xpress stores.

Customers at these outlets who require bags can purchase them at 20 cents per transaction at FairPrice, FairPrice Finest and FairPrice Xtra stores or at 10 cents per transaction at Cheers and FairPrice Xpress stores.

The money will be donated to environmental and community causes.

The one-year initiative will start on Nov 11.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, group chief executive of FairPrice Group, said that the "no plastic bag" trial was introduced to reduce excessive use of plastic bags and encourage a change in customer behaviour.

"We are heartened by the survey findings (of the trial), which showed that the majority of customers are receptive towards a plastic bag charge. We also observed that more customers started to bring (their) own bags and show greater awareness for the environment," he said.

FairPrice surveyed 1,745 customers during the month-long trial.

Some 71.1 per cent of them supported charging for plastic bag use at supermarkets. They cited environmental concerns and waste reduction as reasons for supporting the initiative.

Those who did not agree with the initiative said that plastic bags were part of the expected store service and were also reused to line trash bins.

This comes on the back of previous efforts by supermarket chains to instil more environmentally-friendly habits among consumers.

In July, eight supermarket outlets placed donation bins around their premises to collect unused reusable bags. If the bags are in good condition, they are redistributed for shoppers’ use.

In December last year, a One Less Plastic Campaign involving four supermarket operators – FairPrice, Dairy Farm Group, Prime Group and Sheng Siong was also launched. It involved 16 participating supermarket outlets and consists of a series of roadshows to encourage consumers to use reusable bags.

Apart from supermarkets, other businesses have also embarked on similar moves.

Fashion giant H&M announced in July that it would start charging customers for each plastic or paper bag used.

In October last year, the Cotton On Group also decided to charge shoppers 10 cents each for each recyclable paper bag. Cosmetics and skincare company The Body Shop stopped providing plastic bags in January 2018 and charges customers 10 cents for each recyclable paper bag.

Lifestyle brand Miniso and clothing chain Bossini have also been charging 10 cents for a bag since 2017 and 2012 respectively.