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Mandatory charging for plastic shopping bags starts in Japan

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NO. BAN THEM.

15 ( +31 / -16 )

Whats wrong with using Hemp based bags, is because of Du pont and some others ?

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Another tax on the poor :D

-15 ( +20 / -35 )

Whats wrong with using Hemp based bags

Nothing. Take your hemp-based bag with you when you go shopping.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Excellent policy that should have been implemented a decade ago, if not sooner.

11 ( +22 / -11 )

in line with a global trend of reducing plastic waste to combat marine pollution.

Plastic shopping bags are combustible and do no harm to marine.  It is from neighboring countries that are  reaching Japan's coasts.

-45 ( +5 / -50 )

About time.

Just get yourself cloth bags for a couple of hundred yen. I’ve had the same ones with ‘happy simple life in the sunshine with eating’ or something like that written on them for ages.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

Ban all plastic bags like in countries even like Kenya.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Plastic bags are not the solution even when being charged for them.

Many retailers place your purchase in "free of charge" paper bags here in Australia. Just as many will make you pay for a plastic bag to get your purchase home if you don't bring your own bags. I know which shops I prefer to visit.

Paper bags come from recycled paper and purpose grown forrest's that are replanted over and over. This is much better for the environment than any plastic bag whether free or purchased. Paper bags provide more employment and are sustainable and biodegradable.

Time to tell shops you visit that they should be going back to paper bags like they used to use 40 years ago in all shops or lose your business.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Bugle Boy I do

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Whats wrong with using Hemp based bags?

Start your own backyard industry; grow your own.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Plastic shopping bags are combustible and do no harm to marine.  It is from neighboring countries that are reaching Japan's coasts.

Hell of a journey to get all the way up the Edogawa. Did they float all the way round the archipelago to get there?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Plastic shopping bags are combustible and do no harm to marine.  It is from neighboring countries that are reaching Japan's coasts.

Plastics break down over time into smaller micro plastics and are eaten by marine life, proceeding from there into the human food chain. They are most definitely doing harm to marine life and birds.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

Plastic shopping bags are combustible and do no harm to marine.  It is from neighboring countries that are reaching Japan's coasts

Yes, because polluting the air is harmless, right? Especially burning plastics that release dioxins that deposit on the crops that you eat.

Anyways, the charge on plastic bags is a (late) start but makers should invest much more in bio-materials and customers should start to use those "maibaggu" that buy abroad and then leave on a shelf to take dust.

Hopefully the new generations will understand, but I expect older ones to prefer to pay those few yens for their own convenience.

Another huge issue is the plastic transparent bags used at the supermarkets, I believe they are excepted from the charge. Even though I always tell the cashier to avoid wrapping fruits and veggies in plastic bags they keep using the transparent bags, like they're not recognized as being plastic, and if I give them back they throw them away: who taught you civil education??

6 ( +12 / -6 )

I have a Union Flag cloth shopping bag, souvenir of a trip to London yonks ago.

Others are souvenirs of Okinawa, Amami Oshima, Ogasawara, each with an appropriate design - hibiscus flowers, whales, etc.... every shopping trip is a reminder of some great holiday, also a reminder not to spend too much so that I can go on another holiday and buy another shopping bag.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

They should make them 100 yen each. That might have some effect.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

A step in the right direction, but more important would be the packaging. My local supermarket sells fried goods such as tempura and fried chicken, each individual piece in its own plastic shell. And don’t start me on PET bottles... Germany has the right idea with their refund system.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Here we go, Japan boards the eco warrior express

-15 ( +9 / -24 )

Here we go, Japan boards the eco warrior express

Sigh. Another one who likes the idea of living in a rubbish tip.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Plastic shopping bags are combustible and do no harm to marine.  It is from neighboring countries that are reaching Japan's coasts.

Are you really unable to consider the environmental harm that might be caused by burning tens of billions of plastic bags every year?

The lethal cocktail of chemicals released ends up in our air and waterways:

https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/plastic-bag-bans-can-help-reduce-toxic-fumes

4 ( +9 / -5 )

they account for just an estimated 2 percent of an annual 9 million tons of plastic waste generated in the country.

Most countries have been onto this for decades. Japan has jumped onto it twenty years late, but you can go to any supermarket and find candy, cookies and vegetables all wrapped separately in plastic. Bwahaha!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

About time! The drop off of plastic bag waste in the UK was something like 90%, this is long over due and welcome!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Plastic shopping bags are combustible and do no harm to marine. 

There was a news story today about a turtle in Kochi that had a plastic bag in it's tummy.

Don't worry; I'm sure the plastic bag did it no harm.

 It is from neighboring countries that are reaching Japan's coasts.

Sure. I must say, though - given that the shopping bag was undoubtedly from Vietnam or somewhere, it struck me as odd that it had Japanese characters on it.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

One famous Japanese department store started charging for shopping bags some months ahead of the mandatory date.

Bravo!

Except that the staff still wrap up each croissant in individual....er....plastic bags.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Remember the sustainability hierarchy, reduce, reuse, recycle.

A small step in the right direction but if the company keeps the money it just becomes another income stream with little real incentive to change. Ban plastic bags is a better solution.

Mixing 25% biodegradable plant based material with plastic is the worst possible solution as it is then unrecycleable.

Introducing it in the midst of a pandemic is probably the worst time, even in Britain the major supermarkets have gone back to delivering in disposable bags and the government recommended they only be used once.

In normal circumstances to make this measure effective, the shop needs to be made responsible for their disposal through an audited approved recycling process not just thrown away. If they become a cost to the business they will soon disappear.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Not enough. Three yen per bag is nothing to people with enough to shop. Make it a minimum 500 yen per plastic bag. That will stop a lot of people from using them.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

What has this world come to? Charging for plastic bags at the stores you shop from. I realize I will get all thumbs down, but have all of you gone mad?

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

3 to 5 yen a bag?

This is a joke!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Ban plastic bags? How does one throw out the garbage in this country without plastic bags? Many people use the konbini bags just for that purpose.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

What has this world come to? Charging for plastic bags at the stores you shop from. I realize I will get all thumbs down, but have all of you gone mad?

I’m a total crackpot. I take a cloth bag with me and tell the staff I don’t need one. They seem very understanding of my mental derangement.

I also fill up a flask with water before I go to work, drink it, bring it home and then repeat the process the next day. Quack!

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Here we go, Japan boards the eco warrior express

When you see those plastic bags blowing down the street, stuck in trees and bobbing down the river does it make you feel good? Would you like to see more of that or less?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

This is a good idea. The amount of plastic garbage that is produced from buying anything edible in Japan is unbelievable. All countries need to take this problem seriously and implement methods to reduce and eliminate it. So now, who is going to convince China?

"With the largest population, China produced the largest quantity of plastic, at nearly 60 million tonnes. This was followed by the United States at 38 million, Germany at 14.5 million and Brazil at 12 million tonnes."

https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution#:~:text=Total%20plastic%20waste%20by%20country,-In%20the%20chart&text=With%20the%20largest%20population%2C%20China,Brazil%20at%2012%20million%20tonnes.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

In Japan, plastic shopping bags are incinerated,so do not cause marine pollution.

Carbon dioxide is a food for plants, and the current concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 0.04%. If carbon dioxide disappears, plants will be annihilated and humans will be destroyed. When the Earth was born, 95% were carbon dioxide stars, just like Mars. Carbon dioxide is not a cause of global warming. Urbanization is the cause of global warming.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

To me what is unconscionable is why we don't want to pay the full cost for our disposable lifestyle. 

I hope that free market advocates come up with more proposals to achieve societal goals such as environmental protection in a manner that is market-based, and relies on the government action in a manner directed to enhance the working of the market - in this case, establishing the legal framework for ensuring that the cost of disposable bagging and packing material are internalized in the cost of goods sold to the consumer regardless of the nature of the retailer.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

International treaty banning the exports of all plastic waste. Plastic waste from Britain ends up in landfills in Turkey, polluting the local environment. Every country dealing with its own plastic waste.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Ossan, interesting link, much appreciated

86% of ocean plastic input from rivers comes from Asia.

42% of plastic production is used for packaging

Plastic waste generation per person, per day:

Kuwait 0.69kg

Germany 0.48kg

USA 0.34kg

UK 0.21kg

Japan 0.17kg

China 0.12kg

India 0.01kg

I was quite surprised by this considering the amount of plastic Japan seems to use in packaging, and that Germany has quite a strong Green movement.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I read that charging customers actually INCREASES the amount of bags used, as customers feel justified that there are paint for the bags, which covers their "guilt".

I also read that simply removing the bags and supplying alternate bags works far better.

I was also told today that the gov has removed the saving you get from using a card to pay for shopping, at the same time as this "bag tax".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How about charging a deposit on cans and those small glass energy drinks you see laying around everywhere? Maybe it will give those wandering oyajis a reason to recycle. I rarely see plastic bags blowing around.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I do a lot of cycling here in southern Chiba and see quite a lot of plastic bags and pet bottles alone the road. Most of plastic bags do come from conbinis. Easy to understand in a way. Conbinis are like a drive in. Plastic bags from conbinis should be charged much more

6 ( +7 / -1 )

How many years too late? Again.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Always amazed me to get offered a platic bag for a box of tic tac... come on guys!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This is tyranny, first face masks, now expensive plastic bags. This is where it all starts.

Big socialist(near communism) government trying to control our lives.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

I also like the pretext about marine life, specially because most of the plastic Japan generates isn't from the free plastic bags they give you at the convenience store, but of the actual package of all the consumables.

Not only that, but it would be a problem on the handling of the disposal of the bags, and not a problem with the bags themselves.

And it is 100% a tax on the poor. I will continue to get bags even if they cost, because the cost is for me so infinitesimal that I can afford it... tell that to someone who is living paycheck by paycheck.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

I don't mind, as I am accustomed the practice in Europe. But I could do without the virtue-signaling...Human beings need to feel guilty, and they should, as fallen creatures. But plastic is not the forbidden fruit of Eden...When I spent a couple of years in a small town in America, I would be asked at the supermarket, "paper or plastic?" I once whispered to the young lady at the register. "Quick! Tell me which is politically correct! My colleagues are watching me and I don't want to get reported for getting it wrong!!" She giggled and replied: "I don't know."

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

This is long overdue and especially welcome in Japan where there is a tendency to bag everything. Charging should work to discourage use. I would be against banning bags because I think this issue does not deserve its high profile and is largely eco-tokenism. Plastic shopping bags are only a tiny part of plastic pollution, and an even smaller part of overconsumption. I do litter collection with my community three times a year, and we find more bento boxes and plastic bottles (often full of urine and thrown from a car or truck) than plastic bags.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I fully agree with this, but it's now hard to carry my usual 10 cans of beer and 3 bags of potato chips

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Often those konbini bags are used for trash at home. If now these won't come for free anymore, people might actually not buy them or re-use them but for the garbage at home they'll need to buy new ones. I honestly don't think, Japan has a shopping bag pollution problem, especially considering the neat clean-up behavior in public.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Ridiculous! How am I supposed to carry my omiyage back to my hotel whenever I visit Japan. Target here in the US is already oppressive with their bag policies. Free profit for the company in my opinion. Bags should be provided as a service as it already has been for years. Many other ways to go green, and for the record, I don't like plastic bags as there are many alternatives and I hate it whenever I see people present raggedy old reusable bags to put their purchases in. Ugh!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Never understand why so many people throw plastic bags, bento boxes, cans out of their car windows. Even in beautiful nature places. Why can’t they just take it home.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Japan was responsible for the largest amount per capita after the United States, according to data from UNEP, producing some 9 million tons of plastic waste annually.

This is pretty shocking to be honest.

I generally agree with this charge. I usually keep a plastic bag with me so do try to reuse them. But, as others have mentioned, I reuse the bags for garbage and never just throw them away if they are intact.

I feel they could have done much more and targetted the businesses who use excessive packaging for their products for aesthetic reasons. Example, the Japanese brand tea I sometimes buy usually has each tea bag wrapped in paper but then wrapped again in plastic for a set of 5. Why?

On a similar note, I was also planning to buy a Nespresso capsule coffee machine. Then I read about the tons of waste they create, no recycling in Japan, and even those countries that have recycling of the capsule very little is reused.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And it is 100% a tax on the poor. I will continue to get bags even if they cost, because the cost is for me so infinitesimal that I can afford it... tell that to someone who is living paycheck by paycheck.

I bought a cloth bag for I think ¥300. I think you can get them cheaper than that. I’ve had it about 2 years.

I get that to about ¥0.4 a day up to now. I don’t think that’s going to push people over the line to destitution.

Buy a cloth bag. It’s not hard.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

What happened to bringing your own (shopping) bag?  Many years ago . . . some people even brought a shopping bag which they made at home . . . cloth on the outside with plastic lining sewed in on the inside . . . helps the environment.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Its not just plastic bags that are a problem in Japan. Almost every item I buy seems wrapped in several layers of plastic during manufacture. The government should gradually increase sale taxes on items including plastic to encourage innovation and all manufacturers to use other biodegradable materials instead.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The majority of a cars parts are manufactured from plastics so I guess their owners think nothing of arrogantly chucking plastic packaging out of the window. Many car drivers think that because they pay road taxes they can do as they please.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is just a plastic bag tax, I mean, you can still get one, you just have to paid an overinflated price for it.

So no, all other arguments and opinions about "bring your own bag" or whatever you are pushing for is just not the reality of this initiative.

As I said, people with money who do not care about paying a few yens extra for a bag, are not going to go all their way, get a cloth bag, bring that bag (and in case that they forget it, go back and get it), wash the bag, and buy a new one when the old one is becoming unusable. They will just pay a few extra yen for convenience.

If they really cared so much about the environment, they would find some other way to replace the plastic bags, in order not to lose convenience, but this seems more like a move to seem like they are doing something.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

It takes more "polluting" energy to sterile reusable bags than it does to make plastic bags. A gross of plastic bags probably costs 10 yen to make.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

100% biodegradable bags exist.

It is the case and offered for free for vegetables or if duly need (clothing...) in France.

As indicated on them, you can recycle them from your backyard composter or still use them to dispose garbage.

What is the difficulty ?

And bringing an existing well folded bag , where is the difficulty again ?

All plastic pet bottles and bags you can see on some side roads or side of walking paths in Japan that get directly to the sea to be world shared is a pollution burden for all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As I said, people with money who do not care about paying a few yens extra for a bag, are not going to go all their way, get a cloth bag, bring that bag (and in case that they forget it, go back and get it), wash the bag, and buy a new one when the old one is becoming unusable. They will just pay a few extra yen for convenience.

Hang on, you were talking about this driving people to destitution a few hours ago.

Can’t you remember to pick up 3 things ( wallet, keys and a bag ) before you go shopping? You don’t need to be a Las Vegas card counter here.

Just throw the bag in with your sheets when you do the washing? No good?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Seems to me that plastic bags are the least problem; they are usually re-used to throw out garbage. But how all that exaggerated wrapping of products? Double-triple-quadruple wrapping is not usual, and all that goes directly to waste.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Maybe it would be good just to stop the money grab. Can’t have that though. As for the environment, what difference does it make in jp? There is litter absolutely every where anyway

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

tinawatanabe: "Plastic shopping bags are combustible and do no harm to marine.  It is from neighboring countries that are reaching Japan's coasts."

Here we go again -- Japan the victim, as always. Sorry, tina, but Japan is one of the biggest wasters and polluters out there. Buy a box of cookies, and each is wrapped in its own plastic, inside a larger piece plastic that's inside the box. And until now, and they still will if you ask, they put THAT in yet another plastic bag. Some of that can be recycled, but ask any recycling center and they'll admit more than 50% of what they receive gets thrown away, and most plastic can't even be recycled to begin with -- it's gotta be PET bottles material or plastic bags. That's it. The rest you are asked to simply dump. And you don't think any of that gets away and goes into the ocean or the rivers? Just look at ANY river after a heavy rainfall -- kids plastic balls, pet bottles and plastic bags galore, galoshes, packaging, and even lawn furniture sometimes when the river dies down a little. Japan is addicted to plastic, and it's time to stop blaming others and start dealing with the problem. This is a VERY small start, but it's a start. Next will be reducing the amount of PET bottles.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Yes, I definitely agree with Japan's move to impose fees to reduce demand for use of plastic bags. However, as to the idea of reluctance in re-using the same because of the current COVID-19 SCARE just makes me wonder if it would have made a difference for those people carrying that idea, to know that in China, FACEMASKS and ECO-FRIENDLY BAGS are made-up from the same material.

Paradoxical??

1 ( +2 / -1 )

3-5 yen, really? that's very low, there is almost no incentive to stop using plastic bags. in the UK its around 7P or 10 yen. the next thing supermarkets need to address is the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging, plastic on veg, bits of meat, it come on a polystyrene tray wrapped in cling film, its very annoying !!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The other thing, where does that money go for these bags, does it go to the government as some form of tax? does it go to the supermarket accounts? what will it be used for?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Time to tell shops you visit that they should be going back to paper bags like they used to use 40 years ago in all shops or lose your business.

Sorry, I go to stores for products that I want to buy, not how they bag my items.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Carbon dioxide is a food for plants, and the current concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 0.04%. If carbon dioxide disappears, plants will be annihilated and humans will be destroyed. When the Earth was born, 95% were carbon dioxide stars, just like Mars. Carbon dioxide is not a cause of global warming. Urbanization is the cause of global warming.

Yoshi - scientific nonsense coming from you. There is no debate about this and no one takes these fringe theories seriously.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Blame the shops for carrying products that when sold are many times over wrapped not the consumer!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is tyranny, first face masks, now expensive plastic bags. This is where it all starts.

Big socialist(near communism) government trying to control our lives

Abenobags will be along soon to save the day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tinawatanabe:

Plastic shopping bags are combustible and do no harm to marine.  It is from neighboring countries that are reaching Japan's coasts.

What trolling planet are you living on?

thelessdeceived:

Abenobags will be along soon to save the day.

If his masks are anything to go by, I'd expect Abenobags to be nothing more than those thin bags used to carry those loose vegetables in supermarkets.

It's not just bags. It's all the excess packaging. The other day, I saw some slices of bread, probably by Pasco. The high price was one thing, but the THREE slices of bread were INDIVIDUALLY wrapped, and then put into another plastic packaging. Good grief. As if putting a courgette/zucchini on a styrofoam tray wasn't enough.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Although I feel this is a good idea, it's only a start as everything you buy to put in that bag is packaged in plastic. So, seems kind of useless until companies start using different means to wrap their products. The gov. just trying to make it look like they actually care. & most people are buying into it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Usually I carry a cloth bag to shop with.

But during this virus madness, a plastic bag is disposable.

And now, it costs extra.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

We use shopping carts, tote bags and bring our own plastic bags using them numerous times. We remove some of the plastic from the produce and leave it at the store. We also take back some materials like cardboard and foam boxes for recycling.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ya'll know you can reuse the plastic bags, right? I use a 5 yen plastic bag I get at the super 2+ weeks at a time.

I keep plastic bags in the side pocket of my car door.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Here we go, yet another price gouging, these bags cost almost nothing to produce or about 10jpy for a hundred. but we are being charged 3 and 5 yen /pc.

I don't mind paying 1 or 2 yen but NOT 5 yen, this is a RIP OFF in the name of the environment.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What about all the other plastic wrappings and Styrofoam trays Japanese love to wrap their daily meals with. Even a freshly baked slice of PIZZA gets wrapped which blows my mind!!!?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't mind paying 1 or 2 yen but NOT 5 yen

That's the point, isn't it? The charge makes people think about whether the plastic bag is worth it...

this is a RIP OFF*

Don't let yourself be ripped off. Bring your own reusable bag.

Invalid CSRF

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"I understand that it is a measure to protect the environment but it is bothersome to bring a bag every day," said a 39-year-old male company employee who bought rice balls and a drink at a Lawson shop in Tokyo and put them in a bag he brought.

surely he could carry the drink and put the rice balls in his pockets ?

it is tough thinking outside the box...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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