S’pore Supermarkets To Charge At Least 5 Cents Per Plastic Bag From 3 July

FairPrice, Cold Storage, Sheng Siong & Prime Supermarkets To Charge 5 Cents Per Plastic Bag

On Thursday (2 Mar), Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and Environment Amy Khor announced that from 3 July, all large supermarket operators will be charging at least 5 cents per plastic bag.

This includes about 400 FairPrice, Cold Storage, Sheng Siong, and Prime supermarkets around Singapore, reported Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

Dr Khor said that the plastic bag charge will nudge consumers to be mindful of and reduce usage of disposables.

The Resource Sustainability (Amendment) Bill was earlier tabled in Parliament on 6 Feb.

Large supermarkets to charge 5 cents per bag from 3 July

In Parliament on Thursday (2 Mar), Dr Khor shared that the minimum 5-cent charge per plastic bag will begin on 3 July 2023.

CNA reported that the charge does not apply to non-carrier bags such as flat-top plastic bags, which are typically used to contain fresh produce, meat, or seafood.

The authorities will impose the compulsory charge on large supermarket operators with an annual turnover of over S$100 million, including:

  • FairPrice
  • Cold Storage
  • Sheng Siong
  • Prime supermarkets

This will be mandated under the Resource Sustainability (Amendment) Bill which intends to reduce food waste and packaging.

Dr Khor said they have consulted supermarket operators and understand that most will be charging 5 cents per bag.

This will moderate the potential cost impact on customers.

More importantly, the bill will achieve its aim of making customers more mindful of and reduce usage of disposables.

Will monitor need to expand charge

In a bid to ensure transparency and accountability, all supermarket operators will have to publish the following information:

  • number of bags used
  • proceeds they receive from the bag charge
  • how they use the proceeds

The authorities encourage supermarkets to channel the bag charge proceeds into social or environmental causes. This includes initiatives encouraging shoppers to bring their own bags.

While the mandatory charge does not apply to smaller supermarket operators or other retail outlets, they are encouraged to impose their own bag charges voluntarily.

According to CNA, many have already begun doing so. This includes convenience store chains like 7-Eleven and Cheers.

supermarkets 5 cents bag

Source: Cheers on Facebook

Dr Khor said that the authorities will be monitoring the effectiveness of the charge. They will subsequently assess the need to expand its coverage in the future.

Comes after years of debate

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said that disposables, whether made of paper, plastic, or degradable materials, impact the environment.

This is due to their production, transportation, and disposal.

The agency thus encourages shoppers to reduce their use of all types of disposable carrier bags, regardless of material.

CNA states that the decision to implement a mandatory bag charge comes after years of public and parliamentary debates on its effectiveness.

The idea was first recommended during a citizens’ workgroup in Sep 2020 on reducing excessive consumption of disposables.

There have also been nationwide campaigns to reduce the excessive use of plastic bags and disposables.

Following that, NEA consulted over 6,000 industry and public stakeholders, including low-income groups and social services representatives.

A survey of 1,000 Singapore residents in Sep 2021 then showed that 70% agreed that a mandatory bag charge will reduce usage of disposable bags.

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Featured image adapted from J.O.E Eco Alliance.

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