(Singapore, 2 Mar 2023) Beginning from Jul 3, customers will have to pay at least 5 cents for each plastic bag that they take from large supermarket operators.

This was announced today in the Parliament by Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor.

She also said that about 400 supermarkets, which account for some two-thirds of the total island wide, will impose the charge, applying to disposable carrier bags of all materials.

Photo: Amazon

The charge will not apply to non-carrier bags such as flat-top plastic bags for fresh produce, meat or seafood.

The Bill to make the bag charge compulsory at large supermarkets, which is meant to reduce food waste and packaging in Singapore, was tabled for a first reading in Parliament early last month.

“Following consultations with supermarket operators, we understand that the majority will be charging 5 cents per bag, and this would moderate potential cost impact on consumers… By making the cost of disposable carrier bags visible to consumers, the charge will nudge consumers to be mindful of and reduce their usage of disposables,” ” said Dr Khor.

Officials say the bag charge will apply to supermarket operators with an annual turnover of more than S$100 million. These include NTUC FairPrice, Cold Storage, Giant, Sheng Siong and Prime Supermarket.

Supermarket operators with an annual turnover of less than S$100 million are encouraged to voluntarily impose their own bag charges and many have done so.

“Whether they are made of paper, plastic or degradable materials, disposables have an impact on our environment during their production, transportation, and disposal. Consequently, shoppers are encouraged to reduce their use of all types of disposable carrier bags, regardless of material type,” said the National Environment Agency.

The decision to implement a bag charge comes after years of public and parliamentary debates on its effectiveness and nationwide campaigns aimed at reducing the excessive use of plastic bags and disposables.