Japan begins charging for plastic bags

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Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

By: ABS-CBN/AFP

Retailers in Japan began charging for plastic bags Wednesday, a move aimed at curbing Japanese consumers’ love for packaging and finally bringing the country in line with other major economies.

Shops including the ubiquitous convenience stores can decide how much to charge customers for the bags, with a common price being 3 yen.

The country produces more plastic packaging waste per capita than any nation apart from the United States, according to the UN, with campaigners criticizing Tokyo for moving too slowly on reducing plastic consumption.

With the measure, Japan has vowed to “curb excessive use of plastic and think about how to use it wisely,” according to its most recent policy document.

Introducing a nationwide fee “is aimed at prompting people to think twice if a bag is really necessary and helping people to review their lifestyles,” the government said.

In 2018, Japan vowed to reduce its annual 9.4 million tonnes of plastic waste by a quarter by 2030.

According to government data, bags account for 2 percent of the total amount of plastic waste.

 

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