IT WILL be compulsory for all traders to use biodegradable products in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan from Jan 1, next year.
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said traders would not be allowed to use any form of plastic as this was considered harmful to the environment.
Biodegradable products would be introduced in four phases.
“In the first phase, biodegradable plastic bags will be made compulsory at Pasar Raja Bot, starting this month,” he said.
He said the second phase would kick off in August and would involve night markets, restaurants and food trucks in Kuala Lumpur city centre such as at Kampung Baru, Bukit Bintang and Brickfields, Putrajaya and Labuan.
The third phase will be implemented in October at shopping malls, hypermarkets and hawker centres.
“The fourth phase will be carried out at all three Federal Territories once the Federal Territories Biodegradable Product Usage By-Law is enacted,” he said at the launch of Biodegradable Product Usage at Pasar Raja Bot, yesterday.
He said traders were required to use biodegradable products for food and drink containers, plates, bowls, spoons, forks, cups, glasses, straws and all takeaway plastic bags.
He also said plastic required 100 to 500 years to disintegrate when buried and would cause a huge impact to the environment.
“Alternatively, the biodegradable products used will be easy to compost and is environmentally-friendly.
“These products are made from recyclable materials such as corn, cane and palm oil.
“The use of these products will decrease the amount of rubbish at the landfill and lengthen its life,” he said.
When asked on compounds for failure to use biodegradable products once the policy was implemented, he said the ministry was in the midst of studying the by-law.
“We are taking a different approach from other states by engaging with the public and traders to explain why we want them to use biodegradable products,” he said.
He said they were still working with manufacturers of biodegradable products to try to match the cost of normal plastic.
“It is a bit higher at the moment compared to normal plastic.
“However, I believe when people start buying, there will be a demand so suppliers will be able to sell them much cheaper,” he said.
He also urged buyers to ask for biodegradable products when shopping or bring their own bags.