INDONESIA - The Indonesian government has taken the first step towards reducing waste from plastic bags by sending circulars to business leaders and modern retail chains in several cities asking them to try out a ‘plastic tax’ to encourage consumers to bring their own bags when shopping.
Increased agitation from community groups with strong concerns about Indonesia’s mounting plastic bag waste prompted the government to issue the circular that stipulates that modern retailers must not give plastic bags to customers for free.
Enthusiasm from the public and city administrations appeared to indicate that if trial runs in several cities are successful, it could eventually reduce plastic bag waste from modern retailers, estimated to be 9.8 billion bags a year or about 38 bags per person/year.
But that is just a calculation based on the Modern Retail sector which accounts for less that 18% of Indonesia’s total retail business. Another estimate by Greeneration Indonesia puts plastic bag usage from both modern and traditional retailers at 700 per person per year, or 178.5 billion bags.
The ministry aims to reduce plastic bag usage by 900,000 by the end of this year through the plastic tax program.
Minimum Fixed price
Following a meeting with Aprindo, the National Consumer Protection Agency (BPKN), and the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI), the ministry decided to impose a minimum cost Rp 200 per plastic bag, although municipalities are at liberty to decide to charge above the minimum Rp 200.
|Download your Complementary Copy|