Save the earth Bring your own shopping bag

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					                    Save the earth: Bring your own shopping bag

The “Bring Your Own Bag Day” (BYOBD) campaign was initiated by the Singapore
Environment Council in April 2007 to get Singaporeans to be more environmentally
friendly. Every Wednesday, major supermarkets encourage their shoppers to bring
their own reusable bags, instead of giving them plastic bags for their purchases.
Shoppers who need plastic bags are of course given them, but are requested to
make a nominal donation towards an environmental cause.

However, REACH contributors have noticed that this campaign is losing steam, with
some retailers no longer even practicing BYOBD. Even where it is supposed to be
practiced, cashiers may not be proactive in encouraging customers to make the

Contributors hope to see renewed interest amongst Singaporeans to protect the
environment, including reducing the number of plastic bags used by levying a charge
on each plastic bag issued and even banning the use of plastic bags altogether!
While a total ban on the use of plastic bags may be too drastic, contributors felt that
retailers, being major uses of plastic bags, should certainly do more. They are urged
to educate their cashiers to give out plastic bags sparingly, to educate their
customers on the need to protect the environment and how customers can do their
part, and to explore alternatives to plastic bags such as biodegradable bags.
Contributors also urge the relevant authorities to work closely with retailers to revive
the BYOBD campaign.

Hot Bites

"Cashiers of supermarkets don't bother to ask customers who need plastics bag to
donate money on BYOB days. The purpose of the campaign has not been achieved.
Change is needed!"

- XM, via discussion forum

"For a start, all supermarkets should come together and follow the 'ruling' of charging
plastic bags, all at the same price. From there, more and more shopping centres and
retailers can join in. There must be a concerted effort by al, otherwise it's bound to

- CHARGE use of plastic bags, via discussion forum

"By right, we should care about the environment and cut down the use of plastic
bags. But people normally will not bother to think about the environment until it is too
late... If the supermarkets really cares for the environment, they should pay a bit
more and use biodegradable plastic bags and issue them free to customers. At the
same time, they should ask their staff not to be too generous when using these

- Wooden Block, via discussion forum