Monday, July 14, 2008

Plastic bags -charge or no charge?


I'm a bit confused about this plastic bag policy. When should you now pay, and when should the bag be free? Most grocery stores I've visited in Shanghai/Suzhou have made it clear that you now have to pay for your bags. If you go to a local wet market though, a bag charge is completely out of the question. But what about clothing stores? The other day at Zara I was charged for a bag (of course they asked first if I wanted the bag or not). Later the same day I bought some stuff from H&M and wasn't charged for the bag. So what's the deal? Charge or no charge? Not because I am stingy, but more because I am curious to find out if some clothing stores are trying to cash in on the bag-ban.

8 comments:

WoAi said...

Firstly lets be clear this was a very welcomed and surprising move by the government in a bid to reduce pollution and litter and save an estimated 37 million barrels of oil which is used to produce them.

I think the policy applies to all shops but obviously aimed at supermarkets who distribute 100s of times more bags than clothing stores.

I'm very surprised to here you got a plastic bag from Zara though. Surely they only have paper ones?

Jonna Wibelius said...

Yeah, normally Zara gives u paper bag but this time it was a plastic one, and I was charged 1 kuai.

(A shitty plasitc bag as well.. it was about 35 degrees outside and when I later leaned the bag against my leg, the bag stuck to the leg and some colour came off, making me look like a filthy shopper in a mini skirt with gray legs)

WoAi said...

That's bizzare, even if they gave plastic bags I'd expect them to be good quality ones. The cheap thin ones (less than 0.025mm) are the ones that have been banned because they are the ones causing the litter and pollution. It's not just illegal to give them for free, it's illegal for them to be manufactured.

I'll have to go to Zara and investigate :-)

In any case as a responsible environmentalist I hope you'd avoid using bags unless absolutely necessary, regardless of whether you're charged for them ...

Jonna Wibelius said...

F course. I am a big fan of the new plastic bag ban, I've been putting my gorceries in my bag since I came to China, mainly coz those plastic bags are so low in terms of quality anyways.

I was just a bit confused about the Zara incident. Maybe they were using those big, shitty bags because they had a huge sale. But it's true what u say, normally when u shop there u get paper bags.

WoAi said...

Ah it was the sale, that might explain it. No further investigation necessary. And good for you for bringing your own bag. When I first heard about the ban I thought it won't work because all the rich spoiled Shanghainese would just buy a few bags each time to show how rich they were that they don't need to bring their own, but I think by and large, that isn't happening.

Anonymous said...

I've wondering where the money that charged for plastic bags goes?

Is it another way for business to get their additional earnings?

Jonna Wibelius said...

That's actually something I've been thinking about too. But I guess it is better that shops gets some extra earnings from charging for bags than that those bags are out there destroying the nature.

WoAi said...

I don't think it's about the money. Many shops WANT to give the bags for free but it's illegal so they have to charge. Some shops have already been fined for giving bags without charge. I think the charge is simply an incentive for people to use less bags and carry stuff in their own bags or reuse older bags, that's all.