SINGAPORE - The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) thanks Ms Fang Mei Ling (" 'Stick' needed to curb plastic bag use"; last Friday) and Mr Ng Chee Kheon ("Use 'carrot' to curb plastic bag use"; Monday) for sharing their opinions on methods aimed at mitigating the excessive use of plastic bags here.
While there is no catch-all solution, both Ms Fang and Mr Ng raised valid points.
The SEC suggests that any methods employed should not impose an additional financial burden on households, and in order for the recommendations to be palatable to retailers, they should not compromise the competitiveness of the business, nor risk extensive damage to good customer relations.
While the "carrot" and "stick" methods of reducing plastic bag usage may prove effective in their own ways, ultimately these are meant to inculcate the habit of taking along reusable bags and refusing plastic bags whenever possible.
Apart from implementing these methods, we recommend educating the public on the reasons for them, such as the detrimental effect of plastic bags on the environment.
For example, one of our recommendations put forth in our position paper released in September last year was that vendors at food and beverage outlets should be encouraged to offer customers a rebate for rejecting small-sized bags and disposable plates, cups and utensils in favour of their own reusable items.