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On July 1, a law will go into effect in Japan making it mandatory for supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers to charge for plastic shopping bags. Do you think this will reduce the amount of plastic waste?

37 Comments
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Why not just ban plastic bags all together like many other country's? Offer discounts to shoppers who use their own reusable shopping bags. Or use paper bags that are compostable.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

It works in other countries just fine. So yes, it will reduce plastic waste. But still a long way to go to get rid of over-packaging in the first place.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

Of course it will. The question is, is it efficient? answer is no. They should have spent time addressing the overpackaging issues of Japan.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

The question is, is it efficient? answer is no.

Why is it inefficient? Other countries have done this and drastically cut their use of plastic.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

How about reducing the amount of plastic packaging in the products sold in supermarkets as a start. People can consciously decide to bring eco bags, backpacks and baskets but they'll have a hard time avoiding overly-packaged products sold at stores

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Why is it inefficient? Other countries have done this and drastically cut their use of plastic.

Because they haven't addressed the main problem of overpackaging.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Aeon where I live is already charging.3 yen for a small bag.5 for a big one.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I will always be disappointed that so many stores charge for bags yet offer automobile parking (something not every customer can use) for free. Are they not both harmful to the environment?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I used to buy a certain package of cookie because it was Not overpackaged. The individual cookies were stacked together in one big sack. One day I bought it and ALL the cookies were individually wrapped. The wrapping also resulted in two fewer cookies than before. Same price, though.

As Aly stated, they have to address this package-in-a-package besides limiting the package it will be put in.

Also, most of the stores I shop at have been either charging for a plastic bag (Aeon, for example) or not giving points on those point cards if you get a plastic bag. They have been doing this for at least a year. This new law seems to be playing catch-up with businesses.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

They've been charging for them for years, and it doesn't change anything

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

They've been charging for them for years, and it doesn't change anything

Not exactly...only supermarkets charge...conbibis and majority of other retailers still provide them for free. This law is about 10 years overdue but better than nothing...and yes it does encourage people to bring their own bags from what I see in supermarkets I shop at. Not everyone but many do. I make a point of always politely refusing a bag, plastic spoons, forks, chopsitcks and all that crap with a " chikyuu ni yasashiku " making sure those behind me can hear it. Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when the next person refuses the bag too....lol. Even small steps are better than none.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Aly RustomFeb. 17  09:50 am JST

Why is it inefficient? Other countries have done this and drastically cut their use of plastic.

Because they haven't addressed the main problem of overpackaging.

You meant insufficient, not inefficient. That's confusing people.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Use paper bags or bags made from other biodegradable or recyclable material.  Charging does help reduce usage.  But bags are only one small part of the plastics problem.

Also I don't see a lot of discarded plastic bags lying around our cities or countryside.  Plenty of pics of other countries where plastic waste is a real (and highly visible) issue.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What gets me is you buy a bento and not only is the box and lid plastic but they separate every item inside with separate plastic cups and to top it off a stiff plastic sheet on top under the lid.

You buy a tin of chips and there are 3 plastic sleeves in side with 10 chips in each.

I bought 3 pens in one plastic sleeve and yep ... all 3 in individual plastic sleeves inside.

Bags are not the only issue.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The only benefit is to supermarkets who gain additional income.

If you wish to help the environment you ban plastic bags and go back to using free paper bags. This is fully biodegradable and encourages the replanting of trees for the raw materials along with using recycled paper and cardboard.

Putting more strain on consumers pockets in the hope they will reuse plastic bags until they break and have to be thrown out and replaced is not the right answer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since they started talking about this, I noticed an INCREASE in plastic bag use here! Now I'm even being offered a plastic bag for my take away coffees!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Also I don't see a lot of discarded plastic bags lying around our cities or countryside. Plenty of pics of other countries where plastic waste is a real (and highly visible) issue.

You are quite right. However, since a lot of our plastic waste is shipped off to those countries, it's still a good idea to cut back on plastics however possible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aeon where I live is already charging.3 yen for a small bag.5 for a big one.

I think this charge is too low to make people change. BigA Discount store charges 10 yen and only rarely do I see someone purchasing a bag. There doesn't seem to be much going into explaining the reasons why the change. I am afraid many will just think it is the company trying to lower costs!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you wish to help the environment you ban plastic bags and go back to using free paper bags.

I agree Peter, brown bags are more environmentally friendly, but we need to educate customers more. How about offering a recyclable bag for Yen 100 as the first option, and then a paper bag if all else fails.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You meant insufficient, not inefficient. That's confusing people.

No I meant that the drafting of this bill into law is inefficient as it wastes time and doesn't address the issue of overpackaging. The drafting of this law was an inefficient use of time.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

On July 1, a law will go into effect in Japan making it mandatory for high end brands, boutiques and other retailers to charge for plastic shopping bags which must be branded with the logo of its rivals. Do you think this will create more competition to advance our economy?

I hope so. I will be carrying my own bag to help reduce the amount of plastic waste.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've watched other customers, and I'd say more than half don't bother and just pay the plastic bags. I don't know what is so difficult about bring your own bag. I always carry at least one non-plastic bag and one reused plastic bag.

At some vegetable stores, when you buy certain products like bento, they offer a free plastic bag. When I say I don't want one, they say 'but it's free'. There's this mindset that people refuse plastic bags simply because it's free.

I'd say charge at least 10 yen per bag.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

typo: there's this mindeset that people refuse plastic bags simply because they are NOT free.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It will reduce the problem of plastic waste but not solve it by a long shot.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why do individual pieces of fruit like bananas need to be wrapped in plastic. Fix that one as well.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Our civilisation should quit this use-once-and-throw-away habit. Sooner or later it will kill us.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

We're here for such a brief period of time. The human race does not even register when you look at the whole of the cosmos and we're here debating the use of plastic bags. lol....

By the way, I cannot stand paper straws. :)

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Other countries have done this and drastically cut their use of plastic.

Ah yes. True. But other countries are not unique Japan. They march to their own beat here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, you go to the supermarket and buy a loaf of bread (wrapped in plastic), some assorted fruits and veges (individually wrapped in plastic), some meats (wrapped in plastic), some cookies (individually wrapped in plastic), some milk (in a plastic bottle), some water (in a plastic bottle), some toilet paper (wrapped in plastic) and a few other misc. items (all wrapped in plastic), but you can't get a plastic bag to carry them home? Yeah, banning plastic bags will make a huge difference, NOT!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

so many foods have unnecessary plastic wrappers though so not sure what effect it will have unless a more holistic approach is taken

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you think this will reduce the amount of plastic waste?

Yes, but by a token amount. Much more needs to be done.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I voted yes, but only by a very very small amount. How about all those plastic containers? Why the heck does the bento box need the plastic green baran? Why are fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic. One courgette/zucchini wrapped in styrofoam net, then put in a styrofoam tray, and then wrapped in saran wrap. Oh, come on!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

UK introduced a charge some years ago and the results are in. Yes it has reduced the amount of single use plastic bags, but as they now sell you a “bag for life” which is thicker plastic the net long term result is that just as much plastic is entering the waste stream, just thicker and later. The customer is ripped off and the store has another income stream. Not really the intended outcome.

The better way adopted in other country’s is the ought right ban on plastic bags.

On the principal of the producer pays, the store should be required to accept back any plastic waste, and they in turn return waste to suppliers. Thereby incentivising the reduction at source.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Still need plastic bags in which to place the rubbish to be collected from our homes....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Use paper bags or bags made from other biodegradable or recyclable material.

The horrible inefficiency and waste of the paper bag industry is what prompted the creation of the plastic bag in the first place! The creator of the plastic bag used to carry one in his pocket where ever he went...the same one! There is only one thing wrong with plastic bags, and that is that people are too stupid and lazy to just reuse the things.

I don't like the OP question because an insignificant reduction in plastic waste hardly counts as a reduction, so I answered no. The REAL problem always was over-packaging by industry and NOT consumer use of plastic bags, though like I say, the intellectually handicapped public could certainly reuse the things.

I have a small collection of nylon bags I have been using for over a decade. Why not just one? I myself suffer from insufficient brain capacity and keep forgetting one or two in the kitchen and drive off. Luckily there is always one in the car!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aeon where I live is already charging.3 yen for a small bag.5 for a big one.

Yup. As are the Aeon-owned supermarket brands Kohyo, Peacock, and MaxValue.

I always keep eco-bags in the car.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyone who says no to this question has clearly never lived in a country where they banned plastic bags. In the supermarket I was going to, every customer was using multiple plastic bags, and they had stacks of them that were used everyday in every location.

After they were banned, everyone was using recycling bags. The massive amounts of plastic bags at the registers disappeared overnight.

Of course this policy will reduce the amount of plastic waste. Is that going to solve our plastics problem alone? Of course not. But anyone who thinks that a solution that is not 100% effective means it’s useless are being ridiculous.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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