From the GMA News TV website:
Plastic bags in nine major shopping malls and supermarkets all over the country will no longer be free every Wednesday starting next week.
This was after representatives from these establishments entered into an agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to promote the use of “reusable bags.”
Among the malls and supermarkets who signed the memorandum of understanding were the Ayala Malls, Ever Malls, Hi-Top Supermarket, Isetann Malls, Makro, Robinson’s Supermart, Savemore, SM Hypermart and SM Supermarkets.
Under the memorandum, the nine stores agreed to charge a fee for plastic bags on Wednesdays to encourage buyers to use reusable bags.
The supermarkets and malls also agreed to observed “Reusable Bag Day” every Wednesday and to give incentives to shoppers who use reusable bags instead of the usual plastic bags.
The signing of the memorandum of understanding was part of the DENR’s efforts to address the country’s solid waste management problem.
“Partnership is key. The DENR cannot solve the Philippines’ solid waste management problem alone. We believe, and we know, that just as each of us is a contributor, each of us is also a solution to the problem,” DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said in a speech during the launch of the department’s “Reusable Bags Campaign” on Thursday.
According to DENR data, more than 80 percent of the trash retrieved from the country’s shorelines are made of non-biodegradable materials such as plastic and rubber. About half of plastic items thrown in bodies of water around the country were plastic bags.
Aside from the malls and supermarkets, the Earth Day Philippines Network, the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association (PAGASA), and the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) were also signatories to the memorandum of understanding.
Even before the agreement, SM Supermarket has been charging its customers in 15 of its branches with a fee for plastic bags on Wednesdays to encourage buyers to bring their own recyclable bags. – Andreo Calonzo/KBK (Source)
I say, it’s time to bust out the eco bags:
One of the reasons I’ve always loved shopping in Singapore and Hong Kong is that the eco bags you’ve accumulated during Christmas gift giving season comes into full use. There are no FREE plastic bags into these countries, you have to pay if you want plastic bags for your grocery. Like for example last year in Hong Kong, the Hubby and I suddenly had the case of the munchies at 10PM, so we went out for a quick grocery run. We bought 4 bottles of water and some chips. After paying in the counter, we realized we forgot our eco bag (which was at the hotel and still containing stuff I bought at Mong Kok). The grocery bag costs 3HK dollars a piece (that’s 21 pesos). So we had to carry all these stuff around the block.
As early as now, I heard negative reactions from some quarters on the proposed charging of plastic bags. WTF people? Which would you choose–buy cheap eco bags for your grocery or experience another Ondoy? What’s a little sacrifice for our environment’s sake?
And the government? Can they do a little information drive or campaign to educate the people?
This is something our country really needs.