Sunday, 19 February 2017

No plastic bags in Selangor

Note: this is my rant on the current 'no plastic bags' policy in Selangor. It may be lame to some but this is just my opinion.

I have always applauded and supported green environmental friendly moves. So when the Selangor government moved to have this 'no plastic bags' policy in the state, I'm all for it. However, I did wonder though about the extra charge of 20 sen for a plastic bag if need be. With this 'no plastic bags' move, it is to encourage the consumers to bring our own green bag and not to rely on retailers to provide the plastic bags which are mostly non-biodegradable. It's a good move but I am really curious of the extra charge though.

All this while, without the 'no plastic bags' policy, we have been given plastic or paper bags without paying extra. So when this policy took effect, I noticed that MOST of the retailers took this opportunity to charge their customers! I know it sounds negative at my end but then this is my thought...

For example, I have recently bought some clothes from Uniqlo and was asked to pay 20 sen for a bag. Before that, we were not charged that 20 sen. Mind you, I had bought a few hundred ringgit worth of clothes and I would have expected a bag for FREE. I mean 20 sen is no biggie for a BIG retailer like Uniqlo to absorb into their cost! They could adjust it in their POS/ accounting system especially for customers who had bought more than, lets say, RM100 or RM150. That would be a fair deal. I wouldn't have minded paying that 20 sen if it was a small grocery shop or market but I minded paying Uniqlo for it. Thankfully I had my loyal strawberry green bag with me.

I didn't mean to pick on Uniqlo but that was the first incident I had after the policy kicked in. I totally felt annoyed that such a big retailer actually took the opportunity to charge their customers 20 sen when before that it was part of their costing which was absorbed. So we are paying extra now plus given the bad economy, 20 sen is a lot once we accumulate it. Unless they reduced their RRP lah then I wouldn't have minded paying that extra 20 sen.

The same goes for Popular, already zero tax for reading materials and they still want to charge 20 sen for a plastic bag. Even pharmacies like Watsons and Guardian so I pity those who forgot and had to pay especially when they had purchased a lot! Most of the big retailers are taking this opportunity to earn extra profit from this policy. I just don't get it, why the extra burden on us when they could have absorbed it? Even those who provides paper bags are doing this which is usually biodegradable.

I totally applaud those who didn't follow suit like Sasa, Cotton On, Coach, Young Hearts and Obermain. Whether or not they had biodegradable plastic or paper bags, they did not imposed the extra charges on their customers but absorbed it regardless of amount. This is a huge gap, in my opinion, especially for retailers to take this opportunity to profit more. I may be wrong, the mechanics of this policy could be different from what I thought but this is how I feel about it.

Thankfully my CNY shopping is over and I'll not shop for another year or so. In line with my frugal resolution, I'm making it a point to avoid shopping at those retailers who charge for plastic bags... especially the BIG retailers... except for the SMEs and small businesses.
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