SINGAPORE: Several supermarkets have indicated that they have no intention of charging for plastic bags at their outlets, unlike large supermarkets that will start to charge a fee for plastic bags from July.
Starting from July 3 this year, customers will be required to pay a minimum of 5 cents for every plastic bag they obtain from major supermarket operators, as part of a mandated move to reduce plastic waste.
Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, Amy Khor, revealed in Parliament earlier this month that the charge will be implemented by around 400, or two-thirds, of all supermarkets in Singapore, and will be applicable to all types of disposable carrier bags.
The bag charge will be applicable to supermarket operators whose annual turnover exceeds S$100 million. This includes major supermarket chains such as NTUC FairPrice, Cold Storage, Giant, Sheng Siong, and Prime Supermarket.
Meanwhile, supermarket operators whose annual turnover is less than S$100 million are advised to implement their own bag charges voluntarily but some have since told TODAY that they have no plans to start doing so.
Some have expressed fears that charging for shopping bags may affect business while others said that they have a close relationship with regular customers and that they regard providing shopping bags as part of their customer service.
One owner told the publication: “Most of my customers are older people who need shopping bags for their groceries and they don’t usually bring their own bags.”
Another said that he is not worry about a possible influx of customers who may visit his store for free plastic bags. He has plans to charge 10 cents each to those who do not buy anything from his store but ask for a shopping bag.
Other small supermarket operators also said they would wait until the bag charge came into effect on 3 July before deciding what measures to take.
Alan Tay, chairman of the Singapore Mini Mart Association, said that all 82 member marts intend to wait until the major supermarkets start imposing bag charges before deciding whether to follow suit.
He said, “Compared to smaller supermarkets like ours, the supermarket chains are bigger and their business won’t be affected much.”
Mr Tay, however, added that if member marts do begin charging for bags, they would likely align their prices with the 5 to 10 cents per bag larger chains will charge.
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