Singapore shoppers have to pay 5 to 10 cents for each disposable bag at supermarkets from 2023


The guidelines are part of governmental recommendations to cut waste generated in Singapore. - ST FILE

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Consumers will have to pay between five and 10 cents for a disposable bag at supermarkets starting from the first half of next year.

The disposable carrier bag charge guidelines were announced by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Thursday (Jan 27). They are intended to discourage the excessive consumption of disposable bags and promote the use of reusable ones.

The guidelines are part of governmental recommendations to cut waste generated in Singapore.

The majority of supermarkets in Singapore will be expected to implement this mandatory charge in their stores. The charge will not apply for online purchases.

Supermarkets will also need to disclose the number of bags they issue, the total amount charged for them and how they use the proceeds.

Environmental groups have been calling for a charge on disposable bags for years. A 2018 study done by the non-profit Singapore Environment Council found that shoppers take 820 million disposable carrier bags from supermarkets a year, an average of 146 bags a person.

Such efforts led the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment (MSE) and NEA to convene a work group in September 2020 to address the excessive consumption of disposable items in Singapore.

Discussions of this work group, which comprised 55 members of the public of diverse backgrounds, resulted in the recommendation of a charge for disposable carrier bags in January 2021.

After three months, NEA and MSE then collectively agreed to develop an appropriate charging model for disposable carrier bags at supermarkets in Singapore.

The NEA crafted the guidelines announced on Thursday after consultation with over 1,000 stakeholders on various platforms and through focus group discussions, as well as looking at case studies from abroad.

Public feedback on these guidelines are now being sought through Reach, the Government's feedback unit.

The topics currently put up for feedback are the proposed charging model, amount to be charged, coverage of the scheme, and the implementation timeline.

Readers keen to provide feedback on the guidelines can do so from Friday to Feb 17 at this website: https://go.gov.sg/feedbackcarrierbagchargepr.

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