Supermarket giant FairPrice and fast-food chain McDonald's have launched new initiatives to reduce plastic use.
FairPrice will start charging 10 cents or 20 cents for plastic bags at seven FairPrice and Cheers outlets in a month-long trial from Sept 16. The seven stores are FairPrice Xtra at Hougang One mall, FairPrice Finest at Zhongshan Park mall, FairPrice at Maple Tree 18 mall, Cheers outlets at Sengkang Community Hospital and in Create Way and Aljunied Road, and FairPrice Xpress in Lorong Chuan.
Shoppers who want plastics bags will have to pay 20 cents per transaction at the FairPrice, FairPrice Finest and FairPrice Xtra stores, and 10 cents per transaction at the Cheers and FairPrice Xpress stores. The money will be donated to the Singapore Children's Society and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.
Separately, McDonald's said 10 of its outlets have stopped carrying plastic straws and replaced certain single-use plastic items with more sustainable alternatives. The one-month trial started last Sunday.
The outlets are at V-Hotel, Potong Pasir, Lot One, Jurong Green Community Club, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Bendemeer, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, Toa Payoh Central, Boat Quay and Springleaf Tower.
A spokesman for the fast-food chain said it would keep tabs on how its customers take to the changes before deciding whether to extend them to all outlets here.
FairPrice will also conduct a consumer sentiment survey on plastic bag use.
FairPrice chief executive officer Seah Kian Peng said: "The insights we gain from this trial and the consumer sentiment study will help in developing a well-informed, measured and sustainable actionable plan to reduce plastic bag use."
FairPrice yesterday also asked Singaporeans to submit proposals on reducing plastic and food waste. It will be launching a new $1 million FairPrice Sustainability Fund to sponsor accepted projects.
Shoppers seemed open to the idea of paying for plastic bags.
Manager Esther Tor, 61, said she uses plastic bags from her supermarket shopping trips to line her trash bin at home.
"Since I need them for rubbish, I don't mind paying. The charge will also help me to remember to bring my own bag if I don't need any more plastic bags," she said.
Editor Sheri Goh, 43, said it was time for supermarkets to start charging for bags. "We should pay for them if we want them. Many other countries like Australia and Holland have been charging for plastic bags for years," she said.
These moves come on the back of earlier efforts by various supermarket chains to encourage sustainable habits among customers and reduce the impact of human actions on the environment.
In July, eight supermarkets from Cold Storage, FairPrice, Prime Supermarket and Sheng Siong provided donation bins for unused reusable bags from patrons which were redistributed for use.
Other businesses have also attempted to tackle excessive plastic waste by charging customers for plastic bags. Fashion giant H&M announced in July that it would start charging customers for each plastic or paper bag used.
These efforts are in line with Singapore's Year Towards Zero Waste this year, which aims to raise awareness of the need to reduce waste.