Disposable bags at large supermarkets to be chargeable from mid-2023

Each disposable carrier bag will cost five cents.

Nicki Chan

Probably that one person singing in the shower at 2am.

Published: 9 March 2022, 12:41 PM

Customers at large supermarkets will have to pay five cents for each disposable carrier bag from mid-2023, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu at the Committee of Supply debate on Monday (Mar 7).

The mandatory minimum charge applies to disposable carriers of all material types and will take effect at all supermarkets with an annual turnover of $100 million. 

This applies to bags with handles, such as t-shirt bags or die-cut/punched handle bags. Disposable non-carrier bags such as flat top plastic bags for bagging fresh produce or meat/seafood would not be subject to the mandatory charge

This covers about two thirds of supermarkets in Singapore including operators such as Fairprice, Giant, Cold Storage, Sheng Siong and Prime. Online retailers and convenience stores are excluded from implementing the mandatory charge. 

The minimum charge has been kept low at five cents to mitigate the cost impact on shoppers while encouraging them to be mindful of the number of bags they take. 

“The charge is not a ban. It will not remove the public’s access to disposable bags. It is a nudge to every one of us to develop the habit of bringing a reusable bag when shopping for groceries and more, and to reduce the use of disposables – an essential feature of sustainable living,”  Ms Fu said. 

To ensure accountability, supermarket operators will be required to publish information on the number of bags issued, proceeds collected from the bag charge and how the proceeds will be used, Ms Fu added. 

The bag charge complements ongoing government efforts to strive towards a zero-waste nation, which include promoting sustainable habits to reduce waste generated by companies and consumers.

You may like these