CNA – From July 3 this year, customers will have to fork out at least SGD0.05 for each plastic bag that they take from large supermarket operators.
Announcing the date in Parliament yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Dr Amy Khor said that about 400 of all supermarkets in Singapore will impose the charge, which applies to disposable carrier bags of all materials.
The charge will not apply to non-carrier bags such as flat-top plastic bags for fresh produce, meat or seafood.
The Bill to make the bag charge compulsory at large supermarkets was tabled for a first reading in Parliament on February 6 this year. Called the Resource Sustainability (Amendment) Bill, it is meant to reduce food waste and packaging in Singapore.
“Following consultations with supermarket operators, we understand that the majority will be charging five cents per bag, and this would moderate potential cost impact on consumers,” said Dr Khor.
“By making the cost of disposable carrier bags visible to consumers, the charge will nudge consumers to be mindful of and reduce their usage of disposables.”
The bag charge – which begins on a Monday – will apply to supermarket operators with an annual turnover of more than SGD100 million. These include NTUC FairPrice, Cold Storage, Giant, Sheng Siong and Prime Supermarket.
Supermarket operators with an annual turnover of less than SGD100 million are encouraged to voluntarily impose their own bag charges and many have done so, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment in a joint press release.
“Whether they are made of paper, plastic or degradable materials, disposables have an impact on our environment during their production, transportation, and disposal.
Consequently, shoppers are encouraged to reduce their use of all types of disposable carrier bags, regardless of material type,” said NEA.
To ensure transparency and accountability, supermarket operators will be required to publish information on the number of bags issued, the proceeds received from the bag charge and how these proceeds are used.