All Japanese stores to charge shoppers for plastic bags from Wednesday
Japan Times -- Jun 30
All retail stores across Japan, including convenience stores and supermarkets, will be required to charge shoppers for plastic bags from Wednesday as a measure to protect the environment.

But plastic shopping bags account for only around 2 percent of all plastic waste produced in the country. While the government hopes that the introduction of the fees will encourage consumers to change their lifestyles, the challenge will be accelerating the reduction in the amount of overall plastic waste by utilizing the launch of the fees as a catalyst.

To introduce the fees, the government last December revised ordinances related to the law on containers and packaging recycling, hoping that more and more people will bring their own bags when going shopping.

Even on and after Wednesday, stores will be allowed to hand out for free tough plastic shopping bags that can be used repeatedly, as well as bags that are decomposed by microorganisms in the sea and those containing at least 25 percent biomass materials.

Under related government guidelines, stores are asked to charge customers at least ¥1 for each bag.

The introduction of the nationwide mandatory fee system comes at a time when marine plastic waste is becoming a serious global issue. Many areas around the world have seen fish and birds consume plastic waste by mistake or such waste destroy the coastal landscape.

In addition, the world is increasingly alert for microplastics.

News source: Japan Times
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