SHOPPERS in Penang are disappointed with the low quality of plastic bags given out at supermarkets despite them forking out RM1 per bag.
Freelance writer E.M. Tan said the quality of the plastic bags had gone down and it was hypocritical for the state to ask supermarkets to impose a RM1 charge for the bags but allow food and beverage outlets to offer takeaway in plastic bags.
“Since the RM1 charge was implemented, I have paid five or six times for the bags.
“I find that it is unfair as those who shop online receive their parcels in thick single-use plastic bags which are then discarded.
“When I visit the supermarket, I pay for the plastic bag, but at the fruit section, plastic bags are given freely to pack the fruits.
“I feel rather than there be a rule, it should be voluntary.
“Let the people choose what they want to cut down on, reusable bags are not always convenient, ” he said.
Shopper Faiz Johari, 26, said RM1 was too heavy a price for a plastic bag.
“I think 50 sen would be a more reasonable rate.
“We know this is to create awareness and make us bring our own reusable bags.
“It is better for the environment if we use reusable bags but sometimes we forget to bring them along.
“I just wish they would give us better quality bags if we are paying RM1, ” he added.
Shopper Melanie Yeoh, 40, said the quality of the plastic bag did not seem to be environmental friendly.
“It would be better if the supermarkets opt to sell degradable plastic bags and charge us RM1, ” she said.
Koay Chin Heng, 54, who works in an advertising firm, said he supported the initiative, as it was good for the environment.
“The drastic charges are to deter people from using single-use plastic bags.
“We can always bring reusable bags as it will reduce our waste.
“If you forget your bags, then you just have to pay up, ” he said.
State welfare committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said it was not about the quality of the plastic bag, but deterring users from creating plastic waste.
“If the public feels that the quality of the plastic bags sold at supermarkets is not good enough, then all the more they should opt to bring their own reusable bags.
“We discourage them from spending the RM1, as it is a single-use plastic.
“If you buy a reusable bag, although it costs a few ringgit more, it can be kept and will come in handy. You will save money in the long run, ” he said.
From this year onwards, retailers will no longer give plastic bags from Mondays to Wednesdays at any price while from Thursdays to Sundays, each plastic bag will cost RM1 instead of 20 sen as in previous years.