Speaking in Parliament yesterday (Oct 1), PAP MP Louis Ng called for the government to start taxing plastic bags by enforcing a 10 cents charge. The PAP MP waxed lyrical about burning plastics and high carbon footprint, and added that taxing the people is the only way to reduce charges by citing a case from retail store chain Miniso:

“After retailer Miniso started charging 10 cents for a plastic bag in 2017, its usage plunged by 75 per cent… A better solution is to ensure that people bring their own reusable bags when shopping, pointing out that one such bag could save 125 plastic bags from becoming litter or being incinerated.”

The PAP MP then claimed that a convenience shop spend more than S$2,000 a month on plastic bags, and that lowering its usage would mean lower prices:

“Although plastic bags are given freely, consumers eventually pay for them. This is because retailers spend a significant sum on them, he said, citing a minimart chalks up a monthly bill of more than $2,000. These costs are passed on to consumers, raising product prices. Hence, we are paying for these plastic bags.”

Minister of State for Environment Amy Khor responded positively to the PAP MP’s tax proposal, and said that she will work on its implementation:

“The ministry will continue to monitor developments on the possibility of a carrier bag charge. We will not hesitate to legislate where necessary. But we will do so by taking a pragmatic and considered approach that suits our local context.”