Singaporeans have yet to form the habit of bringing a reusable bag

On the first day of the mandatory disposable carrier bag charge at large supermarkets on 3 July, shoppers were still seen using plastic bags out of habit.

Starting Monday, supermarkets with an annual turnover of over S$100 million have started charging at least 5 cents per carrier bag.

Under the requirement, these operators which account for two-thirds of supermarket outlets in Singapore are required to charge a minimum of 5 cents for plastic bags.

On the first day of the implementation, morning shoppers at Sheng Siong, Giant, and NTUC FairPrice supermarkets were seen using reusable bags with metal trolleys for their purchases.

Meanwhile, some were using disposable bags to carry fresh products like fruits and seafood.

Plastic bags were still placed on the side of the machines so customers can help themselves.

To avoid paying for the bags, Andrew Ang brought a large recycling bag and a trolley with multiple transparent top bags. According to him, it was not his first time using plastic bags.

“It is inconvenient to have to bring a lot of bags. If you don’t have enough bags, then you cannot buy as many things or else you will have to pay for plastic bags,” he said.

However, there are still people that opt to pay for shopping bags.

Another shopper, John Sin, said that “plastic bags are a must. For a person like me, without plastic bags, how would I hold my things? It’s not possible.”

The charge is expected to enable customers to build the habit of bringing reusable bags.

“This disposable carrier bag charge is an important step in our journey towards a greener Singapore and with climate action as well as environmental protection gaining pace, there is increasing concern about the conservation of resources. And disposable bag charge is becoming commonplace. So we see disposable bag charges in many jurisdictions, like Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan,” stated Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor on her visit to NTUC FairPrice supermarket in Northpoint City.

“We hope that this initiative, which will encourage the public to consider the number of disposable carrier bags that they take as well as encourage them to bring their own reusable bags, will result in a reduction in the use of disposable carrier bags in the long run.”

Supermarkets have also posted posters to remind shoppers to bring their own bags.

More from OMY: 7 in 10 shoppers to bring reusable bags when plastic bag charge starts on 3 July

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