Monday, February 4, 2008


Charge shoppers for plastic bags:

CASH One way to reduce use of plastic bags, says Nordin


Supermarkets should come up with innovative ideas to reduce the use of plastic bags, said the Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH). Its deputy president, Nordin Thani, said shoppers could be charged a small fee for plastic or paper bags and they would be reimbursed when the bags were returned or reused. “This would perhaps be one of the ways to change the people’s behaviour and get the maximum use out of ‘throw away’ bags,” he said yesterday. “It is also an incentive for people to pick up any discarded bags off the streets, as they can then claim back the deposit for themselves. With the introduction of this scheme, it would reduce the use of plastic and paper bags and at the same time increase the reuse of these bags.” The CASH deputy president was commenting on the cleanliness problem caused by plastic bags in the State. “Plastic or paper bags are considered a big environmental issue in some developing countries and they are choking our planet. “Some countries ban the usage of these free plastic bags given by supermarkets. They even implement a levy or make the supermarkets charge their customers for such bags. This will encourage the consumers to bring their own bags,” said Nordin. He said a latest research or study from the Scottish Executive in the United Kingdom discovered that in many aspects, paper bags have even caused more damaging effects to the environment than plastic ones. “According to the study too, this is due to the effects of forestry and paper production. “The study indicated that the production process for paper bags expels three times higher levels of climate change gases than the process for plastic bags, and has 14 times more damaging effects on fresh water due to the form of pollution called ‘eutrophication’. “Actually the plastic bags the consumers use here are a symbol of the ‘throw-away’ culture permeating through our society: It is difficult and hard to change if the Government one day tries to ban or reduce the use of plastic or paper bags. “The ‘throw-away’ culture would cause millions of bags to end up as ugly litter and finally break down into tiny toxic bits polluting our soil, river, sea and lakes,” said Nordin.