#2 Singaporean response to a plastic bag charge

September 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Insights

#2 Singaporean response to a plastic bag charge:

“Wah lau eh, everything also Pay and Pay! Where got money to pay for plastic bags, we very poor thing one… Free bags always free what so should be free forever, why must we pay?

Our response:

Sayang poor thing… we understand that our living costs in Singapore are increasing, sometimes very jialat… but for the sake of our children, grandchildren and great great great grandchildren, and for our clean and green environment, we should do the right thing! (cue: everybody hold hands and sing “this is home truly, where I know I must be…”)

Actually come on lah, we Singaporeans should know that there is nothing free in life… there are environmental and health costs to “free” bags. The problem of excessive usage and wastage of plastic bags in Singapore contributes to the wasting of non-renewable oil resources, generation of carbon dioxide emissions from incineration, littering of bags which could become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, posing harm to the marine lives when the bags ends up in the waterways and sea, and affecting our own health when plastics break down into microplastics and enter our food chain.

We should not let our children, grandchildren and great great great grandchildren pay for these environmental and health costs in the future so that we can enjoy our “free” plastic bags now. Sekali your children next time ask why you pollute our environment by die die wanting free plastic bags, how you explain? How, huh how?

We hope to share that the plastic bag charge would be affordable for most households… we never bluff you! Here’s the maths… abit cheem but bear with us:

Assuming residents bag their waste and throw it into the rubbish chute once every day and with the occasional disposal, each household would need about 10 bags a week or 520 bags a year. If a typical household takes 520 bags a year from the supermarkets and reuse them for bagging waste, and if there is a 10 cents charge on each plastic bag, it would cost a household $52 a year.

The annual cost of the plastic bags ($52) as a percentage of annual household income in 2015 for different types of housing ranges from 0.06-0.35%, which means that paying for the plastic bags would incur a cost which is still affordable to most households.

Also, you could take and pay for less plastic bags if you use the plastic bags that are exempted from the charge or other plastic packaging to bag your waste at home (see previous response at http://www.zerowastesg.com/2017/09/28/1-singaporean-response-to-a-plastic-bag-charge/). So the actual number of plastic bags that you pay for would be much less!

For lower income households, to further minimise the costs of plastic bags, the private sector could help to subsidise the costs of the plastic bags for households in HDB 1- and 2-room flats, or free reusable bags could be given to these households so that they can use them for shopping. The reusable bags could be donated from the public or from the private sector.

So, we should support the plastic bag charge as it would be affordable to most households and is the right thing to do to protect our environment, our health and the future of our children, grandchildren and great great great grandchildren. Steady lah!

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