Ban on plastic bags off to a good start despite complaints

  • Nation
  • Monday, 02 Jan 2017

SUBANG JAYA: The ban on polystyrene food containers and free plastic bags in Selangor and the Federal Territories got off to a smooth start although some shoppers were annoyed by it.

Entrepreneur May Chung, 40, questioned whether the policy was really environmentally friendly.

She said while she used to re-use plastic shopping bags for garbage, she now had to buy plastic bags specifically for trash.

“It’s the customers who end up having to pay more,” she said.

Previously, Selangor held a “No Plastic Day” every Saturday but the campaign was extended to seven days a week starting yesterday.

Shoppers in Selangor can still get single-use plastic bags from stores at a minimum charge of 20 sen each.

Apart from the ruling on plastic bags, Selangor, along with Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, has also banned polystyrene food containers.

Perak and Johor have also announced that they would ban the use of polystyrene containers and plastic bags from June.

Housewife Tan Lee Hing, 48, said it was troublesome to bring along too many reusable bags, especially when she was unsure how much groceries she would be buying.

“Sometimes the store doesn’t have what you want or you buy extra stuff on a sale.

“It’s hard to guess how many bags to bring,” she said.

A check at a grocery store here revealed that cashiers were informing shoppers about the new rule, and there were also signs at the checkout counters about the 20 sen charge per bag.

However, the store provided free cardboard boxes for customers with many items, and sold reusable non-woven bags (RM3.50) and cloth bags (RM18.90).

A check at the food court in the same mall revealed that all the stalls were using either plastic boxes or cardboard boxes instead of polystyrene containers for packing food.

A restaurant worker, identified as Noraiza, said she had already been using the cardboard boxes before the new rule as it was standard to use boxes that had the company’s branding.

In Rawang, shoppers at a mall and patrons at several eateries were seen bringing along their own reusable bags and containers.

Air-conditioning technician Wong Chew Wha, 53, said he always has some reusable bags in his car.

“I, too, want to help save the environment and make the Earth a better place to live in for future generations.

“This is not something new; we have been doing this on every Saturday for the past few years,” he added.

Hawker Samiya Anggilou said the food boxes she used now were twice as expensive as polystyrene food containers.

“But since this is the law, I have to follow,” she said.

Samiya also said she was confused whether she was still allowed to use small plastic bags to pack drinks for customers.

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