The Indonesian government has implemented a paid plastic bag policy in 22 cities, charging shoppers as much as Rp 5,000 (37 US cents) for each plastic shopping bag. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro)

Inaplas Curbs Production as Shoppers Start Paying for Plastic Bags


FEBRUARY 23, 2016

Jakarta. Indonesia's plastic bag manufacturers have cut production following the implementation of a government policy that requires retail customers to pay for their plastic bags.

The policy became effective on Sunday (21/02) in 22 cities across Indonesia and is aimed to reduce the country's plastic waste.

"Producers have curbed their production. They are concerned that... demand would decline," Budi Susanto Sadiman, deputy chairman of Indonesian Olefin, Aromatic and Plastic Industry Association (Inaplas), said on Monday.

Plastic bags account for about a quarter of the country's 4.7 million metric tons of plastic products the association members sold last year.

This year Inaplas targeted sales to grow between 6 percent to 7 percent, with a growth pace at close to lower bound being more likely due to the paid plastic bag policy.

The Environment and Forestry Ministry suggested charging customers Rp 200 per bag, but some cities like Jakarta charged as much as Rp 5,000 (37 US cents) a piece.

Under the policy, regional governments would use the proceeds from plastic bag sales for waste management and recycling efforts.

Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil said the policy could generate Rp 360 billion for the city every year that could be allocated to build waste power generators and recycling plants.

Inaplas, however, remain unimpressed. Budi said plastic bags are the cheapest and most efficient bags to produce and some of it could decompose in a couple of years.

"The most important thing is waste management from the government's side; don't just blame it all on manufacturers," he said.