Bagging up loose ends Government may tighten plastic bag rules2013.05.21
IF we want a plastic bag at a supermarket, we need to pay a levy of 50 cents. The government now wants to implement new rules to tighten the law. It wants customers to pay a levy for other types of plastic bags and to include other retail stores which do not have to follow the rule. A HK$2,000 fine will be issued to retail stores that do not follow the rule.
The Environment Bureau (環境局) says the public supports the notion of paying more. A levy will also be charged for handleless plastic bags, plastic layered paper bags and non-woven bags.
There are exceptions under the new rule. For hygiene reasons, one plastic bag is allowed when buying fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and prepacked lunchboxes. Medicine bags are excluded too. However, Greeners Action’s (綠領行動) Executive Director Angus Ho Hon-wai (何漢威) said, “There are ways to get around the levy; the new measure is far from ideal.”
The proposal still needs to be passed by the Legislative Council first. Caroline Mak Sui-king (麥瑞垰), chairman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (香港零售管理協會), has urged the government to speed up the process. She agrees that the levy should include all retail stores.