Most of us would have experienced this while holidaying in other countries like Japan, Korea and Taiwan – shops charging for plastic bags. Many of us would also have learnt to prep a tote bag while travelling for such cases and instances.
So why do Singaporeans still complain when a supermarket chain announces that they would be extending plastic bag charges to more outlets?
Changing our mindsets towards sustainability and being environmentally friendly
There are often two groups of people in this argument.
One would argue that it’s a good move. And that Singapore has been lagging in this area as compared to other Asian countries.
Another group would argue that it’s terrible for a plastic bag charge to be imposed as they do not wish to pay for trash bags.
Here are some of the common opinions of netizens regarding this topic:
Netizens pointed out that Singaporeans have been spoilt by free plastic bags, which led to less conscious use of plastics. Convenience as been cited as a main culprit for Singaporeans’ bad habits and we’d agree.
Some netizens said that paying for plastic bags may hopefully encourage more Singaporeans to be more conscious of their usage. The key thing here is to be “resourceful and not wasteful”, there’s nothing wrong with bagging our refuse with plastic bags, the issue is when people throw plastic bags away carelessly (don’t suka suka).
Those who are against the initiative:
Of course, there are those who are upset over such an initiative. As they would like to continue getting free plastic bags to bag their rubbish with.
FairPrice’s stance of working towards greater sustainability
The year-long pilot of a plastic bag charge at the 25 FairPrice stores saved 15.6 million plastic bags and saw about 7.8 million bring-your-own-bag transactions. Hence, FairPrice would be extending this initiative to all Cheers and FairPrice Xpress stores from 2022.
FairPrice is currently the only supermarket chain in Singapore to charge for plastic bags.
This scheme has yet to be extended to all FairPrice stores. In response, a spokesperson said the supermarket recognises that such a habit “takes time to nurture”. But, the supermarket is encouraged that most customers chose to bring their own bags or refused plastic bags.
CEO of NTUC FairPrice Seah Kian Peng said “We are thankful to customers for their support and understanding towards this sustainability effort. Regardless of the challenges that we face, we remain committed to the cause and we encourage more retailers to join us in making a collective effort towards reducing plastic bag use,”.
Why should we move towards greater sustainability?
The simple answer is, it’s for our own sakes and our children’s. The more we are careless about single-use plastics, the more damage we do to the environment for our future generations. As we learn to be mindful and consume our products thoughtfully, we eliminate this unhealthy “throwaway culture”. Nobody is saying we can’t consume what we need, but the main issue is to not to be wasteful.
Many would argue that single-use plastics are convenient, and yes, we would agree. However, if we choose to adopt a lifestyle not to use them in such a widespread manner, we will indeed cut down on the production of all these unneeded plastics. The battle here isn’t against the use of plastic bags or straws. It’s truly against the mindset of putting convenience over conscious use of our resources.