Greeners Action’s future strategies on plastic bag reduction 03rd June, 2019
Since 2009, the Greeners Action has been calling for “Day of no plastic bag”, concerning about problem of repackaging for bakery, suggesting charging on plastic bag, organizing “reduce-using-or-delivering-umbrella-bag audit scheme” with a view to reducing use of plastic bag. All of these will go on this year. Viewing other places across the world, they keep proposing legislations for plastic bag reduction, no matter in levy or banning mode. However, Hong Kong did not do follow-up public consultation or feasibility study on narrowing exemption scope and levy hike since the implementation of the first-phase plastic bag levy scheme in 2009, which allows the gradual offset of $0.5 economic incentive by inflation. Part of the retail industry is abusing the loophole, delivering those law-exempted plastic bags, thus breeding Hong Kong people’s bad habit of taking shopping bag from shopping markets, takeaway orders. The large number of plastic bag abused is likely to offset the number of plastic bag reduced through the levy. As a result, the effectiveness of the policy is in question.
The Greeners Action thinks Hong Kong could learn from place like Taiwan, so to take prompt action in amending the charging scheme on plastic bag. It includes:
1) Narrowing down the exemption scope so charging is applicable to airtight plastic bags or plastic bags having no direct contact with food like chill, fresh food etc.
2) Raising the levy per plastic bag to $2.
3) Formulating the timetable for reducing plastic bag usage.
4) Studying the feasibility of banning the use of plastic bag.