Let Support ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ Campaign

The ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ initiative was kicked off in Selangor on 2nd January 2010  with the aim to encourage further reduction of plastic bag usage across the city.

Effective January 2010, every Saturday is a plastic bag-free day in Selangor.

Therefore, It better for the Shopper to make a Habit of using less plastic bags and bringing your own bags when shopping.

Customers who insist on plastic bags will have to pay between 10 sen to 20 sen per bag.


This program will help to save Malaysia’s environment by creating awareness among the public on the dangers of expansive use of plastic, reduce or minimize the plastic usage starting from shopping complexes by using recyclable shopping bags


Plastic Bags…"The Harsh Facts"



Consider the Following Shocking Facts About Plastic Shopping Bags:

  • Plastic bags are made of polyethylene
  • Polyethylene is a petroleum product
  • Production contributes to air pollution and energy consumption
  • Four to five trillion plastic bags are manufactured each year
  • Americans use over 380 billion polyethylene bags per year
  • Americans throw away approximately 100 billion polyethylene bags per year
  • Of those 100 trillion plastic bags, 1% are recycled
  • It takes 1000 years for polyethylene bags to break down
  • As polyethylene breaks down, toxic substances leach into the soil and enter the food chain
  • Approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die per year by ingesting plastic bags
  • Plastic bags are often mistaken as food by marine mammals. 100,000 marine mammals die yearly by eating plastic bags.
  • These animals suffer a painful death, the plastic wraps around their intestines or they choke to death
  • Plastic bag choke landfills


Let support ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ Campaign!


Negative Effects of Plastic Bags



We can lessen our environmental footprint by minimizing the use of plastic shopping bags.

If everyone do so, our world will become a Better, Cleaner, Safer Place for all living things


Shoppers caught unawares by ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ campaign


PETALING JAYA: Selangor’s first ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ on Jan 2 went by so quietly that many consumers, although applauding the move, were frustrated at being caught unawares.

The Selangor government had on Dec 20 declared its plans to make every Saturday a plastic bag-free day effective Jan 1.

Going green: Customers at Carrefour will need to pay 10 sen for a plastic bag if they insist on having one.

A senior executive who wished to be known as Raj said he had gone shopping at a hypermarket in Subang Jaya on Saturday, not knowing it was the first day of the campaign.

“At the counter, the cashier told me it was a ‘no plastic day’ and she would not give me plastic bags.

“There was no visible sign to announce about the campaign. As I had bought more than RM100 worth of groceries, she gave me a complimentary reusable shopping bag,” said Raj, who works in the shipping industry as a purchasing officer.

He added that the bag was not big enough to contain all the purchased items, and he had to cart the trolley to the car park and unload the items into his car boot.

“I support the campaign, but it should be made known to consumers. I saw many others caught by surprise at the cashier’s line.”

Carrefour public relations manager Salmieah Mohd Zin said there had been a few complaints from consumers at its stores but “it was a matter of educating the public.”

She added that most Carrefour stores in the Klang Valley have been plastic bag-free since last year and their target was to have no plastic bags in Carrefour Malaysia by 2012.

Customers who insist on plastic bags will have to pay 10 sen per bag.

However, Giant will only be implementing its “no plastic bag” days from Jan 9, said marketing manager Ho Mun Hao.

He said their stores in Penang had promoted the campaign well, with managers explaining the concept to customers.

“We will prepare carton boxes for customers to pack their things. Plastic bags will still be available at 20 sen but we will be selling reusable bags at RM1.99,” Ho added.

Cold Storage will also observe the ‘no plastic bag day’ on Saturdays. Currently, the stores do not give out plastic bags on Thursdays.

Convenience store chain 7-11 will also be starting its ‘no plastic bag’ campaign this Saturday, its website said.



Penang Declares Mondays "No Plastic Day"


he Penang government has declared every Monday as a "No Plastic Day" for the state beginning July 1.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today the ban by the state government on using plastic bags marked its serious commitment to achieving its goal of becoming a green state.

"Following consultation and dialogues with hypermarkets, supermarkets, mini markets, plastic manufacturer and NGOs, the ban on using plastic bags marks the serious commitment towards reducing the use of plastic bags," he told a news conference here.

He said that to encourage consumers to bring their own bags and reduce their dependency on the plastic bags, consumers would be charged 20 cents per bag on the "No Plastic Bag Day".

The proceeds would be donated for the state Hardcore Poverty Programme.

Lim said a survey conducted by the state government on six major groups of supermarkets and hypermarkets showed that as much as 25.2 million plastic bags were distributed in 2008.



Press Statement by Lim Guan Eng in Georgetown on Friday, 27th November 2009:


Extension of no plastic bags day to three days a week for hypermarkets, supermarkets, professional outlets/firms, chain stores and franchise stores, whereas all single retails stores are required to adopt no plastic Mondays from 1 Jan 2010

In our efforts to reshape Penang into the first “green” state in Malaysia, the Penang State Government launched a “No Plastic Mondays” initiative in July 2009. Based on the data provided by 45 super/hypermarkets and other participants, it is estimated that Penangnites have reduced plastic bags consumption by more than one million in four months from the “No Plastic Mondays” campaign since July 2009.

For those consumers who insist on plastic bags, they will be required to contribute 20 cents per plastic bag as a form of donation to the Penang State government “Partners Against Poverty” Fund to wipe out hard-core poverty in Penang. To date, we have also collected RM 21,403 from the charges of 20 cents per bags for the Partners Against Poverty Fund.

Penang has received tremendous support from the public from all walks of life for this ‘No Plastic Monday’ initiative. In fact some other states have begun to emulate Penang. We have discussed with all stakeholders including NGOs, public and plastic manufacturers on whether we should extend this campaign to reduce plastic bag consumption further.

After due deliberation, the State Government has decided to extend No Plastic Bags Day to three days a week for Hypermarkets, Supermarkets, Chain and Franchise Stores, Professional Outlets/firms starting from 1 Jan 2010. The 3 days will be from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and plastic bags will still be charged 20 cents each during those days. For the first time ever, all single retail stores will also be required to participate but only for one day a week in “No Plastic Mondays”.

Under Local Government Act 1976 Section 107(2) and Municipal Council of Penang Island (Food Establishments) By-laws 1991 by law 3 (5), local councils can impose specific conditions in the renewal of new licenses. They will be required to either abide by the “No Plastic Three Days” in a week or No Plastic Mondays where relevant if they want to get their license renewed. Those who are applying for new licences will also have to comply with this condition.

As for minimarkets and single outlets in shopping malls, in order to give more time to retail industry and consumers to adapt to the plastic bags reduction initiative, they will also need to comply with No Plastic Monday.

Prior to this, the 6 major groups of super/ hypermarkets in Penang distributed as much as 25.2 million pieces of plastic bag or 2.1 million pieces monthly in 2008. I remember when we first introduced this No Plastics initiative, some people have questioned me with doubt: “Is there Really an alternative to such a convenient product?” YES! Penangnites have proven this to be true.

In order to REDUCE the consumption of plastic bags, we now bring our own reusable bags. Some among us have even found simple, creative ways such as folding up a clean plastic bag into a triangle accessory to bring along for REUSE. To RECYCLE, we have also converted illegal banners into reusable bags.

The mantra of 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) has been put into practices through this initiative. But 3R can only be successful if you couple it with the 4th R and that is RESPONSIBILITY.

At the same time, the state government is also trying to address issues relating to effective, adequate and integrated solid waste management.

There are more than 44 other “No Plastic” countries or cities like Penang. We have become the first state in Malaysia to cut down on plastic bag consumption through such voluntary program. Even the Federal Government has announced that they will follow the suit.

All of us in this global community must realize the importance of preserving, protecting and promoting a clean and healthy environment not only for the investors, tourists and those who desires for sustainable living, but also for our future generation. We should feel proud that Penang is amongst 44 other countries and cities that stands out in contributing towards reducing climate change through reducing our carbon footprints in a direct and positive manner.


19 Responses to “Let Support ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ Campaign”

  1. Had a personal account with this at the All IT Hypermarket in Digital Mall.
    Only at the cashier counter did I notice it and was caught unaware.
    This is a good campaign though.

  2. Hi Alan, I support this no plastic bag day! 😀 Actually, I try to minimize plastic consumption regularly. If I have a bag with me and I bought items that could fit in, I simply ask the saleslady not to put the item in a plastic bag. 🙂

  3. Saturday picked to maximise ‘No Plastic Bag’ drive

    Selangor picked Saturday as its “No Plastic Bag Day” to maximise the campaign’s impact, said Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment executive councillor Elizabeth Wong.

    She said hypermarkets, supermarkets and specialist retail outlets like pharmacies recorded higher shopping traffic during weekends.

    “Saturday will be a very effective day to get the message across to a wider crowd. For the first three months, we hope to achieve a substantial educational effect on consumers in changing their habits.

    “Six months later, we will consider making it a licensing condition for retailers, in strengthening the campaign,” she said yesterday.

    Wong clarified that the campaign would officially start on Jan 9, and not last Saturday, which was reported to have inconvenienced shoppers who were caught unawares.

    She said that retailers who began the campaign a week earlier did it on their own accord. The campaign was announced on Dec 19.

    Penang, the first state to implement “No Plastic Bag Day” last July, has extended the once-a-week campaign to three times a week, and announced that from this year, it would not renew the licence of businesses that did not support the state’s plastic bag reduction policy.

    Data provided by 45 participating hypermarkets and supermarkets showed that plastic bag consumption has dropped by more than a million since the campaign started.

    Twelve supermarkets under the jurisdiction of the Sibu Municipal Council also declared Monday as plastic-free and has charged 20 sen for every bag from Nov 16, in a bid to lengthen the lifespan of its landfill.

    However, the Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers Association cautioned that such campaigns may not achieve the intended environmental benefits.

    Its chairman Lim Kok Boon predicted that the states would eventually face an increase in the number of plastic garbage bags used, which would be an additional cost to the public.

    He said plastic bags that ended up as a public nuisance were those without reuse value, like the small bags used for take-away food and small items.

    The association has promoted 3R – a campaign to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic bags – but retailers were reluctant to print the recycling logo on the bags as they found it advantageous to their public image to promote the state-sponsored “No Plastic Bag Day” campaign.


  4. Going green is the way to go

    AM very proud of Selangor’s No Plastic Bag Day campaign. In an era where going green is an important step to preserve world heritage, it is time that Malaysians are slowly introduced to certain simple gestures that will indefinitely make a better change.

    Globalisation makes the world smaller in the sense that we are connected in one way or another and the things we do in our everyday lives have an impact on others and, very importantly, our planet.

    In some countries, supermarkets do not give plastic bags for your purchase. You will have to bring your own plastic bags or carton boxes which can be recycled.

    Because of the easy availability of plastic bags, people misuse the bags by throwing them into rivers or the sea, for example. Plastic in the sea or rivers is responsible for the death of fishes and other marine lives.

    Therefore, other cities in Malaysia must follow this very good example!




  5. Red light for green movement
    Mayor: Proposal on plastic bags too drastic for KL

    There are no immediate plans to adopt the once a week plastic-free day in Kuala Lumpur.
    Unlike Selangor which implemented the no-plastic bag day every Saturday recently there are no such plans for the nation’s capital city.

    Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail said city authorities will continue to push for other ways for people to adopt a greener lifestyle, such as promoting recycling, solid waste management initiatives as well as cleanliness campaigns.

    “It may be too drastic a move to implement the no-plastic bag ruling for the time being,” Ahmad Fuad told The Malay Mail.

    This morning, Segambut Member of Parliament Lim Lip Eng handed a petition entitled “No Plastic Bag Day in KL” to City Hall’s deputy director-general for services, Datuk Muhd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz at its headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut.

    He submitted the petition on behalf of 10 members of parliament in Kuala Lumpur. Lim said: “Campaigns to ban the use of plastic bags are not only adopted by the Pakatan Rakyat State governments.

    “In fact, the Minister of Water, Green Technology and Power Datuk Chin Fa Kui had in October last year announced that a national campaign of that sort will be carried out eventually as it is among the ways to conserve the environment and promote green technology.”

    Lim added that Kuala Lumpur, as the capital city, should take the lead to ban the use of plastic bags in the city and there are no reasons for the mayor to say otherwise.

    From Jan 1, the “No Plastic Bag Day” is observed every Saturday in Selangor. Retailers and shopping complexes throughout the State have been urged to reduce the use of plastic bags.

    Although the announcement was made by the State government on the new ruling last December, many shoppers were unaware of the ruling when met recently.

    It was also reported that Penang will become the first State in Southeast Asia to penalise outlets that do not observe the “No Plastic Day” campaign starting this year.

    Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said the penalties would include fines or the rejection of licence renewal applications by the State’s local authorities.

    He added that the State would first create awareness and educate the public on the matter until the end of March this year before deciding whether to extend the campaign or to start strict enforcement.


  6. Most shoppers happy with plastic bag ruling

    THERE were mixed reactions to the “No Plastic Bag Day” ruling in Selangor that came into effect last Saturday.

    While some shoppers complained about being caught unawares or insisted on getting plastic bags, others embraced the campaign enthusiastically by bringing their own shopping bags.

    The Selangor state government had announced that the six-month campaign would take effect every Saturday, and consumers who request for plastic bags would be charged 20 sen per bag.

    Selangor tourism, consumer and environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said the campaign was to encourage the reduction of plastic bags, and not a complete ban.

    “We have 20 big retailers comprising hypermarkets, supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores who are participating during the campaign’s initial stage,” she said.

    “We hope to get hundreds more to join after three months. My office is getting calls from more companies wanting to pledge their support for the campaign and we encourage concerned groups and NGOs to take part, too.”

    Wong said the state government was working with the Malaysia Retailers Association to get the retailers’ support and the Malaysia Plastic Forum to get assistance in terms of lobbying for issues on plastic.

    “In line with the 3R concept, we want to see a reduction in the use of plastic bags,” she said.

    “We will evaluate the campaign after six months, on whether the campaign should be extended and consider making it part of the licensing requirements (for retailers).

    “We hope to see a 50% reduction of free distribution of plastic bags in Selangor after six months.”

    Wong said this after a visit to Jusco and Cold Storage at 1 Utama Shopping Centre to distribute reusable bags and inform consumers about the campaign on Saturday.

    “The shoppers’ response was beyond expectations. It is encouraging to see the people in Selangor wanting to do something for the environment,” she said.

    “The state government is intensifying the campaign by producing some 35,000 reusable bags for free distribution and putting up billboards.”

    Meanwhile, 10 Kuala Lumpur MPs have also submitted a petition to Kuala Lumpur City Hall for the city to initiate a similar “No Plastic Bag Day” campaign.

    Consumers’ reaction

    Dr Pauline Lai was out shopping with her father Richard Lai, and came prepared with some 20 reusable bags to pack their groceries.

    “I always keep these bags in my car for such a purpose and have been using my own bags for grocery shopping for the past year,” said Pauline, who attributed her preparedness to environmental awareness and overseas education.

    The 40-year-old pharmacist also separates her garbage at home and feels that the “No Plastic Bag” concept should be implemented nationwide.

    Another shopper is secretary Chua Ai Lee who feels the move is great for the environment.

    “I try to bring my own bags whenever I go out shopping,” said Chua, 35.

    “But with the campaign, I am planning to intensify my efforts to make sure I don’t use so many plastic bags.”

    As a fishing enthusiast, Harry Foo has seen plenty of plastic bags left discarded at lakes and beaches.

    “I keep reusable bags in my car so I’ll remember to bring them along whenever I go grocery shopping,” said the 70-year-old.

    Legal manager Zuraidah Mohd Yatim was among those caught unawares when shopping at a popular hypermarket.

    “I had to buy recyclable bags to carry my purchases and wheel the rest in the trolley to my car,” said Zuraidah, 42.

    “I knew the campaign had already started at Ikea but I didn’t know it had been extended to hypermarkets.”

    One irate shopper had brought along a bag for his shopping but said it was not enough for all his groceries.

    “The government should have made the campaign better known to the public. There are even fewer shoppers than usual today (on the first day of the campaign),” he said.

    Environment groups

    Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) communication head Andrew Sebastian said Malaysians should support activities that reduced the impact on the environment, especially waste.

    On the campaign’s effectiveness, Sebastian said: “We are dealing with mindset change here. It takes time, but every little bit helps.

    “There are many ways to carry out such campaigns, whether in phases or immediate implementation,” he said.

    “It would be great if the hypermarkets and retailers offer incentives to make it more exciting to encourage consumers to take up the initiative.”

    He added that MNS was suppor- tive of the campaign and that Malaysians should reduce usage of plastic bags as part of their everyday habits.

    “People have to make it part of their lifestyle for the campaign to be truly effective,” said Centre for Environment, Technology & Development Malaysia (Cetdem) executive director Anthony Tan.

    He cited the example of his family making it a conscious habit to bring reusable bags with them when they go out shopping, and bringing containers when they do their marketing at the pasar malam.

    “The whole point of the campaign is to educate people on the need to reduce taking excessive and unnecessary number of plastic bags,” said Tan.

    “The fact remains that many are not conscious about the number of plastic bags that they use, not to mention the plastic bags that are often freely given away at food outlets or convenience stores.

    “It is usually the odd-sized plastic bags that end up in drains and contaminate the environment.”

    Tan added that there was also a need to educate food stall operators and retailers on the need to help the environment.

    Examples in other countries

    • Plastic bags are either taxed or require additional charges in places like Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Holland.

    • Ireland became the first country in March 2002 to introduce a plastic bag tax on consumers, or PlasTax. Designed to reduce their rampant consumption of plastic shopping bags per year, the tax resulted in a 90% drop in consumption, and approximately one billion fewer bags consumed annually.

    ·In Oct 2001, Taiwan introduced a ban on distribution of free single-use plastic bags by government agencies, schools and the military. It was then expanded to include supermarkets, fast-food outlets, department stores and convenience stores. The ban was lifted in 2006 for food service operators to offer free plastic bags.

    ·China introduced a ban on flimsy plastic bags in June 2008 to reduce “white pollution” – the popular term for plastic bags and styrofoam packaging. Under the new rules, the state forbade production of ultra-thin bags under 0.025mm thick and ordered supermarkets to stop giving away free bags.

    ·Switzerland requires supermarkets to charge $0.15-$0.20 (50 sen-70 sen) per paper bag. Most shoppers bring their own reusable shopping bags.

    ·Since launching a 5 pence (30 sen) charge for carrier bags in May 2008, Marks & Spencers in the United Kingdom said there had been an 80% reduction in their use in the first year.

    ·Bangladesh slapped an outright ban on all polyethylene bags in Dhaka in March 2002 after they were found to have been the main culprit during two major floods that affected two-thirds of the country, as discarded bags were choking the drainage system.

    ·In Denmark, the waste tax is differentiated so that it is most expensive to landfill waste, cheaper to incinerate it and tax exempt to recycle it. It also has “green” taxes on packaging, plastic bags, disposable tableware and nickel-cadmium batteries.

    > Information sourced from National Geographic News, The Guardian, Reusablebags.com


  7. Retailers go all out to make campaign a success


    Carrefour Malaysia Marketing and Communications director Low Ngai Yuen said Carrefour was committed to zero distribution of plastic bags by 2012, and as an international company, reduce its carbon footprint impact.

    “Whatever money that is saved from reduction of plastic bags goes back to the customers in the form of discounts or savings for their purchases,” she said.

    If a shopper does not bring shopping bags, Low said they could get Carrefour staff to help them to load purchases into their car, request for boxes or pay 10 sen per plastic bag – which would be channelled to the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).

    From Jan 9 onwards, Low said Carrefour Malaysia started rewarding shoppers who brought their own shopping bags with a new reusable bag.

    Carrefour Malaysia has gone a step further by introducing various green measures at selected hypermarkets.

    “For example, no plastic bags are given at all at Carrefour Market in Bangsar South, KL. A big majority are receptive to the idea, though a small group are not,” said Low.

    “Our Tropicana City Mall outlet has a no plastic bag day on Mondays, while at Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, eight out of 15 are eco-friendly checkout lanes that give priority to customers who bring their own shopping bags.”


    To raise awareness among customers on the need to protect the environment, Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd launched the Tesco Green Clubcard programme in June 2008.

    “The programme rewards our customers with Tesco Green Clubcard points each time they use their own bags or the Tesco reusable bags available at all Tesco stores,” said Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd corporate affairs director Marlene Kaur.

    “The points are converted into Clubcard Cash Vouchers every quarter that can be used to offset the cost of purchases made at any Tesco and Tesco Extra stores.”

    Marlene said one of Tesco’s reusable bags called The Big Green Bag would now cost 50% less at RM1.99.

    “Since launching the Tesco Green Clubcard reward system, we have reduced the production of plastic bags by 20 million and plans are under way to get more customers to opt for reusable bags,” she said.

    “So far, Tesco Malaysia has reduced its cumulative carbon footprint by 28.2% for new stores and the ambient distribution centre, and 3% for existing stores and the fresh food distribution centre.”


    The “No Plastic Bag Day” began at all Giant hypermarkets, superstores and supermarkets in Selangor on Jan 9.

    “Although the campaign just started at our Giant stores in Selangor, our Cold Storage outlets already have a “No Plastic Bag” practice every Thursday,” said GCH Retail (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd marketing director Ho Mun Hao, whose company operates the Giant and Cold Storage stores in Malaysia.

    “Those with a minimum purchase of RM50 in a single receipt were given a free recyclable bag on Jan 9,” he said.

    “Alternatively, customers can buy our recyclable bags at a discounted price of RM1.99.”

    On whether the “No Plastic Bag Day” policy would be implemented in the company’s hypermarkets in other states, he said it would depend on the feedback they received from the campaign in Selangor.


    Aeon Co (M) Bhd plans to introduce the “No Plastic Bag Day” on Saturdays at all its 22 stores nationwide after Chinese New Year, said Aeon Co (M) Bhd CSR & Corporate Branding general manager Noryahwati Mohd Noh.

    “We had a similar “No Plastic Bag Day” campaign at all Jusco stores that started in January last year in conjunction with Jusco’s 25th anniversary,” she said.

    “During our campaign, Jusco customers were encouraged not to use plastic bags on the 25th of each month.”

    Noryahwati said Jusco had a reward system for their campaign.

    “Shoppers who did not use plastic bags were given additional JCard points, but this was later changed whereby they were given a complimentary reusable bag,” she said.

    “Our stores in Penang and Selangor have been running a “No Plastic Bag Day” thrice weekly and once weekly respectively, and there have been no complaints so far.

    “Those who are caught by surprise will be offered complimentary boxes or they can opt to buy our reusable bags at a 50% discount, or even buy plastic bags at 20 sen each.”

    Noryahwati said the funds collected would be channelled to Jusco’s Green Fund, a new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project for tree-planting activities.


    Ikea has been encouraging the use of reusable bags when customers shop at the Ikea store since June 5 last year to commemorate World Environment Day.

    With the goal of reducing waste from plastic bag use and to contribute in reducing overall garbage, Ikea will no longer be offering customers free plastic bags.

    Customers may bring their own reusable bags when they do their shopping, or buy Ikea’s iconic reusable “Big Blue Bag” for RM1.90. “There is no financial gain for Ikea. Money collected by charging for plastic bags will be donated to the MNS,” said Ikea Malaysia Sustainability manager Chong Hock Ben.

    “With the proceeds, Ikea, in collaboration with MNS, will plant and maintain mangrove trees at the mangrove forest in Kuala Selangor Nature Park to offset carbon dioxide emissions.

    Ikea Malaysia Marketing Commu­nications manager Yap Poh Choo said: “We realise that our Ikea ‘Love The Earth’ programme is a small step.

    “But we believe that our customers want to help and support the sustainability of our planet for today and the future of our children.


  8. excellent starting!!!

  9. Bring own eco-bags, Kong tells shoppers

    PETALING JAYA: Consumers should embrace the “no plastic bags” campaign as an example of what individuals can do to save the Earth, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

    “It would be good to start the initiative with just one or two days a week to raise awareness.

    “However, it should not be limited to just one or two days per week, rather it should become a habit for people to bring their own eco-friendly shopping bags everyday,” he said.

    Kong was speaking to reporters after launching the “Roaring Prosperity” Chinese New Year celebrations at the Sunway Pyra­mid shopping mall here yesterday.

    He said the ministry encouraged all shopping malls to implement more environment-friendly programmes as well as educate shoppers on the benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling.

    “Promoting recycling should not be left to the Government alone. Consumers, as waste generators, must be positively engaged to make recycling and green environment programmes a success,” he added.

    According to Kong, a recent study in the Klang Valley showed that 62% of the waste generated can be diverted for composting while a further 23% can be economically reused for recycling.

    He hoped that the recycling effort could be further enhanced with more sectors of the community and business enterprises taking part.

    Sunway City Bhd property investment managing director Ngeow Voon Yean said in conjunction with the Government’s call, Sunway Pyramid had made every Tuesday and Saturday as “no plastic bags” days.

    “Shoppers who come with their own eco-friendly bags on these two days will be entitled to free parking,” he said. fr:thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/1/20/nation/5503703&sec=nation

  10. Subang malls supporting green drive

    SELANGOR launched its own version of the “No Plastic Bag Day” campaign on Jan 9 in a bid to save the environment by decreasing the use of plastic bags.

    A quick survey at the hypermarkets revealed that there were mixed reactions to the campaign — while some embraced the campaign positively by bringing their own shopping bags, others complained about being caught unawares and still insisted on getting plastic bags.

    The cynical ones even said that there would be a drop in the retailers’ business, since the campaign was held on a Saturday when most people did their shopping.

    However, I was truly humbled to see an elderly gentleman, who was out shopping with his daughter, pack their purchases with a few quick moves.

    His daughter said they had been shopping with their own bags for some time, and it was all a matter of packing 10 to 20 reusable bags whenever they went out shopping.

    While some hypermarkets, supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores have signed, or will sign, their pledge to the Selangor state government in support of the campaign, outlets retailing clothes and books are also encouraging customers to bring their own shopping bags.

    Meanwhile, two of Subang’s most popular shopping malls — Sunway Pyramid and Subang Parade — have lined up various programmes in support of the green campaign.

    Sunway Pyramid marketing communications manager Darren Chear said the mall launched its “Bring Your Own Bag” (BYOB) campaign in April last year by rewarding shoppers with free parking on a selected day.

    “Shoppers who bring their own eco-friendly bags and buy product-based goods worth a minimum of RM50 will be rewarded with free parking every Tuesday (except on public holidays),” he said.

    “Since the Selangor state government started its ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ campaign, we are also including Saturdays as part of the BYOB campaign. However, the free parking is applicable only during the next visit on a weekday.”

    In addition, Sunway Pyramid sells BYOB canvas bags priced at RM10 each, with the proceeds being channelled to SMK Bandar Sunway’s special education students’ gardening projects.

    Chear said awareness was still a problem among shoppers, but since the state government started the campaign, there was a more concerted effort to bring their own bags.

    “There are plans to extend the BYOB campaign to two other malls under the Sunway Group — Sunway Carnival in Penang and Sunway Giza in Kota Damansara,” he said.

    “Ideally, we would like to expand the BYOB campaign to seven days a week, but only when the campaign is widely accepted as there wouldn’t be any rewards given.”


  11. Brown paper bag makes a return in Penang

    THE brown paper grocery bag, once chucked aside in favour of plastic bags, is making a comeback at various grocery stores, convenience stores and mini markets all over Penang island.

    Penang Chinese Commercial Union chairman Tan Cheng Eow said proprietors of 102 stores had agreed to try reverting to grocery bags in support of the state government’s Plastic Bags Reduction Campaign.

    He added that the union, with the help of sponsors, was distributing 100,000 grocery bags for free to these outlets in response to the call for eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags.

    “This bag is reusable, if you don’t purposely tear it. It is made from recycled newspapers and is recyclable, and would disintegrate in about three months if wet,” he told a press conference on Thursday night.

    Tan said some operators and customers might face difficulty adapting but would get used to it over time.

    “Our fathers and grandfathers used to run their businesses using paper bags, so there is no excuse why we cannot do so,” he said, adding that there was a need for further education and awareness.

    Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng commended the operators for doing their part, adding that caring for the environment transcended age and gender.

    He added that the 3Rs of recycling (reduce, reuse, recycle) could only be successful with the fourth R, and that was “responsibility”.


  12. Strict rules needed to curb polystrene containers

    KUALA LUMPUR: After years of campaigning against the use of polystyrene food and drink containers, consumer associations and environmentalists feel that the government should introduce more stringent rules to regulate them while raising awareness on their health hazard.

    They said the widespread use of polystyrene containers was alarming and alternative materials needed to be introduced.

    Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) chief operating officer S. Peiarapakaran said the use of polystyrene containers could be regulated if the government formulate more stringent rules and laws.

    He said the Food Act 1983 and the Food Regulations 1985 governed various aspects of food safety and quality control, including the use of vessel made of polyvinyl chloride.

    However, the provisions were not effective to curtail the use of polystyrene containers, which are used widely by traders, he added.

    “It is up to the government, if they do not want our environment to be polluted by plastic and polystyrene, they have to promulgate a bill to curtail or restrict the use of polystyrene or plastic containers,” he told Bernama.

    However, he said the use of polystyrene should be regulated over a period of time as it would affect many who depended on the polystyrene industry, if it was enforced abruptly.

    He said polystyrene containers could be replaced with tapioca or oil palm containers though they might cost more.

    “Polystyrene containers could be replaced in stages to create awareness among traders and consumers.

    Eventually everybody will get use to it,” he added.

    According to statistics from the Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers Association, the country used 1.8 million metric tonnes plastic (including PS,PP,PE,ABS and PVC) in 2008.

    It said 108,000 metric tonnes polystyrene was used in 2007 but it dropped to 106,000 metric tonnes in 2008.

    Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Dr Maamor Osman said the government should implement a policy to curtail the use of polystyrene containers.

    He said if the government was firm in restricting the production of polystyrene and replace them with other material, this would go a long way in creating awareness among the public.

    “Public awareness on the use of polystyrene containers is still low. As such the government should introduce other alternatives to raise the awareness,” he added.

    He said the government should also provide an allocation to NGOs to launch an awareness campaign in schools, with the cooperation of the Education Ministry, and public places.

    Malaysian Nature Society president Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Noor said consumers should also play a role in reducing the use of polystyrene containers especially as food packages.

    “The simplest way to avoid polystyrene containers is to replace them with quality plastic containers. Take along plastic containers with you when buying food.

    “If consumers practise this in their daily lives, eventually the use of polystyrene containers could be reduced,” he said, adding that, however, in the final analysis the government had to enforce rules to curtail the use of polystyrene containers.


  13. Rethink charging 20 sen for plastic bag, Selangor told

    KUALA LUMPUR: The Selangor state government has been urged to review its 20 sen charge for the use of plastic bags for its no plastic day campaign.

    Fomca advisor Prof Datuk Hamdan Adnan said the move was only profiting the retailers and supermarkets.

    He said if Selangor really wanted to make the programme a success, they should find better alternatives.

    “We support the no plastic day campaign on Saturday. But the retailers are taking advantage of the campaign to sell the plastic bags and getting profit for it.

    “We feel such a move has somewhat affected the campaign itself. If one plastic bag costs 20 sen, how much will a retailer make if 5,000 people have to buy these in a single day?” he said.

    The campaign was initiated by Selangor on Jan 9 to reduce the usage of plastic bags, following similar measures in Penang.

    Mohd Hamdan said it was better for retailers to convert its use of plastic bag to that made of biodegradable materials such as wood or rattan.

    He said consumers should also cultivate the habit of taking their own bags when shopping


  14. Selangor may extend ‘no plastic bag day’ to weekdays

    THE Selangor government is planning to make the “No Plastic Bag Day Every Saturday” extended to weekdays.

    According to the state Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong, the state will be looking into launching Phase Two of the No Plastic Bag Day campaign soon.

    “Currently, we are discussing with shopping complexes and supermarkets to extend the campaign. Once a week is just not enough,’’ Wong said during the launch of the campaign at The Store in Sungai Buloh on Saturday.

    Also present were The Store group operations director Kam Teh Chung, The Store Central District assistant general manager, The Store ambassador Adibah Noor, Subang MP R. Sivarasa’s aide Peter Chong and representatives from the Shah Alam City Council.

    More than 75 shoppers from 300 shopping complexes and supermarkets are taking part in the “No Plastic Bag Day Every Saturday” campaign which has saved about two million plastic bags so far since its launch on May 8.

    Wong said the campaign had received encouraging response from shoppers.

    “This campaign is aimed at reducing the usage of plastic bags in Selangor that is seriously affecting environment.

    “I am happy with supermarkets, shopping complexes and even shoppers for taking the initiative to make this campaign successful,” she said.

    Every Saturday, customers bring their own bags for shopping but those who still want to use plastic bags can purchase them at 20 sen each.

    The money collected will be given to Corporate Social Responsibility projects, NGOs or charity organisation that are involved in environmental projects.

    The campaign had already been implemented at Jusco outlets in Penang and Selangor.


  15. USM invents cheap biodegradable plastic bags

    GEORGE TOWN: Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) researchers have come up with a new invention that could change the face of plastic packaging – fruit waste-based biodegradable plastic bags.

    But even more appealing than the natural colour and fragrance of the bags are the price, which the research team claimed cost 10% less than the current non-biodegradable plastic bags commercially used.

    “One of the biggest environmental problems the world is facing is plastic waste.

    “Most commercial plastic is made from petroleum which makes them difficult to break down and degrade,” said research team head Prof Dr Hanafi Ismail, adding that only 2% of non-degradable plastic bags were recycled as the process was expensive.

    He said his team’s new invention called “FruitPlast” converted tropical fruit waste into flour which was then fabricated into biodegradable plastic film. “So far we have tried the skins of three fruits – rambutans, bananas and jackfruit.

    “The plastic manufactured from these fruits stands up in both textile strength and ‘elongation at break’ level as compared with normal plastic wraps,” said Dr Hanafi, a lecturer from USM’s School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering.

    He explained that as the process used low-cost technology, it was more cost effective than biodegradable plastic made from sugar cane or corn husks.

    Exposed to the elements, FruitPlast plastic naturally degrades in three to six months while it can last one to two years on the shelve.

    Dr Hanafi said the invention, a first in the country, was in the process of being patented and could be marketed within a year.

    FruitPlast, the product of a RM900,000 research grant from USM and three years of study, also goes hand-in-hand with another of USM’s new inventions – Greenana Noodles.

    The greenish noodles, a research project headed by School of Industrial Technology lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Noor Aziah Abdul Aziz, are made from the fruit of young, green pisang awak and provide the waste materials for FruitPlast.

    “Noodles are most commonly made from wheat flour that is nutritionally imbalanced as it is mainly a source of carbohydrate.

    “Unlike normal noodles, our Greenana Noodles are high in dietary fibres and resistant starch (RS) which helps prevent colon cancer,” Dr Noor Aziah said.

    She added that the noodles, that taste no different from other noodles, were also suitable for diabetic and overweight people.

    Greenana Noodles come in three forms (instant noodles, spaghetti and fresh noodles) and can last on the shelve as they contain antioxidants instead of added preservatives, she said.


  16. MP: Discard plastic bag habit

    JOHOR BARU: The people here must learn from the recent flood in Singapore and discard the use of plastic bags because these items choke up the waterways when it rains, said Johor Baru MP Datuk Abdul Shahrir Samad.

    “If this (flood) happened in the middle of Johor Baru such as at Jalan Yahya Awal, people would remark that it is normal and that the irrigation plan in the city is bad.

    “But this happened in the middle of Singapore, which is known to have the best development plan,” he said when launching the “No Plastic Bag Every Saturday” campaign by Aeon Co (M) Bhd at the Aeon City Tebrau mall on Saturday.

    Shahrir warned that if such a thing could happen in Singapore, the people in Johor Baru would have to be more vigilant and not clog drainage systems with rubbish.

    He proposed that the use of plastic bags be made illegal as a step to reduce pollution.

    Shahrir said plastic bags were the main pollutants, especially in the city centre, as users would usually just chuck these at the roadside.

    “This is a common sight, especially in Sungai Tebrau,” he said, adding that global warming had made it worse by increasing rainfall.

    Aeon human resources and administration senior general manager Isao Yamaguchi said the campaign at its Tebrau mall marked the fourth phase of its nationwide drive at Jusco stores, covering Johor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Perak.


  17. No plastic bags from January

    GEORGE TOWN: Come Jan 1, plastic bags will be practically banned state-wide.

    The move – an extension of the current “No Plastic Bag Day” in shopping centres and hypermarkets on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – means that no plastic bags can be used every day by almost all business sectors.

    The ruling will cover all hypermarkets, supermarkets, departmental stores, pharmacies, fast food restaurants, nasi kandar outlets, convenience stores including petrol kiosks and chain stores.

    Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the move would reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

    “Mini markets and sole proprietorship businesses will have to adhere to the ruling on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in order to ensure the renewal of their licences.

    “Previously, they only had to adhere to the ruling on Mondays,” he said when tabling the 2011 Budget at the state legislative assembly yesterday.

    Lim’s two paragraph announcement on the wide-ranging plastic ban was buried inside his 27-page budget speech, apparently catching many by surprise.

    To promote the “No Plastic Bag Day” ruling, the state will distribute 500,000 brochures to create public awareness besides erecting educational billboards.

    On July 1, last year, Penang became the first state to implement a “No Plastic Bag Day” ruling in shopping complexes and hypermarkets every Monday, before it was extended to Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well from Jan 2.

    From July 1, 2009 to Oct 28, a total of 32.5 million plastic bags were saved under this campaign.

    Shoppers who did not bring their own reusable bags were charged 20 sen for each plastic bag when making purchases.

    The money collected from the sale of plastic bags went to the “Partners Against Poverty” Special Fund to help the state’s hardcore poor.


  18. Plastic bag ban: Shopping malls going alternative

    GEORGE TOWN: Shopping outlets in Penang are stocking up on more alternative packaging for consumers in light of the state-wide plastic shopping bag ban effective Jan 1.

    Sunshine Wholesale Mart general manager Yee Kam Ming said the chain expected an increase in demand for environmentally-friendly options including tiffin carriers and baskets.

    “We have also stocked up on new innovative designs for lunch boxes, containers, recyclable bags and paper trays,” he said in response to the ban announced by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng last week.

    Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Suiwah Corporation Berhad, manages six Sunshine outlets – Sunshine Square, Sunshine Farlim Shopping Mall, Sunshine Farlim Wholesale Centre, Sunshine Lip Sin, Sunshine City at Penang Times Square and Suiwah Air Itam.

    Yee said they also encouraged shoppers to use recyclable bags instead of plastic ones.

    He added that tiffin carriers and reusable containers were currently the popular choice for consumers.

    “They are very popular, especially among schoolchildren and office workers,” he said.

    Yee added that some hawkers had even started buying paper trays and recyclable plastic containers to replace polystyrene ones.

    Gama administration and marketing divisional manager Alexius Liew Wui Tiong said the store had been promoting the use of alternative packaging since January last year.

    “We knew it would only be a matter of time before the ban, which was initially on Mondays, was extended to every day of the week.

    “Gama has always been selling tiffin carriers and baskets but we also have been promoting locally-made clay bottles which are a great alternative for plastic water tumblers,” he said.

    Liew said he expected such items to become more popular now, adding the supermarket would be on the lookout for “trendier” designs.

    He said what was important now was for shopping outlets to aggressively promote these alternative carriers.

    “We need to encourage consumers to change their shopping habits. One way to do this is by letting them know that there are attractive, environmentally-friendly options besides plastic bags,” he said

    A housewife, who wished to be known only as Betty, said she would usually go marketing with her basket instead of using plastic bags.

    “However, I usually carry my cloth bag when I go shopping at supermarkets,” she added.

    Chow Saik Hong, 50, who sells rattan materials at his shop on Penang Road, admitted that the demand for rattan baskets was rather high but there was a lack of supply.

    “We have stopped ordering new stocks as the only basket maker in Penang is very old and and his children are not interested to learn the trade,” said the 50-year-old, who runs the store with his father, Chow Ah Lek.

    For G.Rajagopal and his wife, S.Santhi, they had stopped using plastic bags since hypermarkets started selling cloth bags.

    “We have lots of recyclable bags at home and will always have a few recyclable ones on standby in our car in case we need to do some unplanned shopping,” said the 46-year old.

    The move to reduce the state’s carbon footprint, is an extension of the current “No Plastic Bag Day” ruling in shopping centres and hypermarkets every Monday, Tues­day and Wednesday.

    The ruling will cover all hypermarkets, supermarkets, departmental stores, pharmacies, fast food restaurants, nasi kandar outlets, convenience stores including petrol kiosks and chain stores.

    Mini markets and sole proprietorship businesses will have to adhere to the ruling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well, in addition to Mondays, before their licences can be renewed.


  19. No plastic rule may cost jobs
    By ANN TAN

    GEORGE TOWN: Some 1,580 people may eventually lose their jobs as a result of the expansion of the no plastic bag ruling in Penang from Jan 1.

    Malaysian Plastic Manufac­turers Association northern branch chairman Willy Tan said he expected those employed in the plastic bag manufacturing line by its members to lose their jobs.

    “When consumers are not using our plastic bags every day next year, these jobs will vanish,” Tan said during a dialogue between 12 association representatives and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at the latter’s office in Komtar yesterday.

    Merit Industries Sdn Bhd director E.E. Lim, whose company is a major plastic bag producer in Kamunting, said her sales to three hypermarkets in Penang had dropped from six million bags monthly to only three million.

    “What are we going to eat when Penangites are no longer using plastic bags? The 20 sen penalty may be a small amount but it is not cheap to some people,” she said, referring to the amount shoppers had to pay for a plastic bag.

    Association president Lim Kok Boon said the ruling would only burden the poor as they would have to pay 40 sen for each garbage bag to discard their rubbish.

    “A shopping bag costs four sen each and they used to get it for free from hypermarkets and supermarkets. In the absence of plastic carrier bags, consumers will have to pay for bin liners and this will increase the usage of garbage bags.

    “A study in Ireland, the first country to stop giving out free plastic bags, found a 90% drop in plastic bag usage in one month but the usage of garbage bags increased by 400% instead,” he said.

    Kok Boon said plastic shopping bags were also more convenient for consumers to tie up their garbage.

    Guan Eng asked the association for a report on the possible impact of the ruling to the industry, adding that Penang wanted to know the amount of reduction in revenue and job losses.

    “We are not banning plastic bags but we want Penangites to reduce their usage. This is a policy we must undertake and I don’t deny it’ll be a political cost to us,” he said, adding that consumers would take as many shopping bags as they pleased when they were free but being charged for it would make them think of the costs involved.

    All hypermarkets, supermarkets, departmental stores, pharmacies, fast food restaurants, nasi kandar outlets and convenience stores, including chain stores and those at petrol kiosks, in Penang will have to adhere to the ruling daily from Jan 1 next year.