Free Plastic Bags Back at the Shops

Indonesia plans to impose excise taxes on plastic bags next year and review other tax policies to increase revenue collection, according to a copy of 2018 budget proposal document reviewed by Reuters. (Antara Photo/Adeng Bustomi)

By : Ratri M. Siniwi | on 6:08 PM October 03, 2016
Category : News, Featured

Jakarta. After suspending a rule that used to force customers to pay for plastic bags at minimarkets and supermarkets on Oct. 1, the Indonesian Retail Merchants Association, or Aprindo, has now called on the government to come up with a stricter no-plastic bag policy — and enforce it — if the country is serious about reducing plastic waste.

"We've evaluated the results of the no-plastic bag trial which ran from Feb. 21 to May 31 and involved 35,000 retailers. They said there were too many 'operational barriers' for the policy to be totally effective, that's why we're bringing back plastic bags to minimarkets and supermarkets," Aprindo chairman Roy Mandey said in Jakarta on Monday (03/10).

The association said they believe that even though plastic bags are now available for free again, many customers who have become accustomed to bringing their own shopping bags during the trial period will keep to their new habit.

Aprindo said the organization is all for going green, but it is the government's responsibility to involve all stakeholders to stick to an effective program that will reduce plastic waste.

"We need a simpler system. Shops have been charging different prices for their plastic bags. It should be the same across the board, and the government should find a way to enforce it," Aprindo deputy chairman Tutum Rahanta said.

Aprindo will leave it to the environment and forestry ministry to establish a proper regulation for plastic shopping bags in hopes that it will be more effective than the system used during the trial earlier this year.

Roy said the ministry is looking to have the regulation ready by the end of the month.

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