Urgent need for the Extension of the Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags: 61% Hong Kong citizens keep asking for free plastic bags
The number of disposed plastic bags from the 3,000 registered retailers has been dropped dramatically from 657 millions to 153 millions (about 75% decrease) since the first phase of PSB charging scheme starting from 1st July, 2009. However, there are still 96% retailers who haven’t registered in the scheme and the problem of abused usage of plastic bags is still serious.
This year, from June to July, Greeners Action conducted an Opinion Survey on Plastic Bag Tax in different districts in Hong Kong; interviewed 800 respondents. Overall, 49% respondents think that except the shops like supermarkets and convenience shops which have actually followed the PSB scheme, the situation of giving out free plastic bags in other retailers does not change much. it shows that without legal regulation, the problem of abused usage of plastic bags keeps unchanged.Currently, the tax collected from the PSB charging scheme will be submitted to the government’s Treasury quarterly. However, the charges do not help local envionmental or waste reduction projects. According to the survey, 88% respondents agreed that the charges collected from the PSB charging schme could be donated to some charities. This reflects that Hong Kong citizens tends to support the way that charges collected by environmental policies should be dedicated to protecting the environment.
In view of this, Greeners Action collaborates with Friends of the Earth (HK) and Green Power to encourage various vendors and shops to support the newly launched No Plastic Bag Campaign. We also wrote to the retail industry to urge them to join the No Plastic Bag Army and to promote the message of treasuring resources to all retailers before the commencement of the new ordinance so that Hong Kong can become a city with no plastic bag as soon as possible.