Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau today expressed thanks to the public and the retail sector for embracing the levy scheme on plastic shopping bags. It had successfully transformed shopping habits, and slashed the number of plastic bags used.
Speaking on the eve of the first anniversary of the scheme's implementation, Mr Yau said registered retailers distributed 90% fewer bags since before the scheme was in force.
"This shows that the levy scheme is remarkably effective. Many people are putting green living into practice by using fewer plastic shopping bags and bringing their own shopping bags," Mr Yau said at an event today to celebrate the levy scheme's anniversary.
The indiscriminate use of plastic shopping bags had always been one of Hong Kong's major waste-management problems, he said. He called on people to support the scheme by not asking for plastic shopping bags, to make good use of every environmental shopping bag, and to think twice before disposing of them.
Mr Yau said the levy scheme's achievement was obvious and it should move forward. The Government is now consolidating and analysing relevant data and materials, and studying the experiences of other places.
For the scheme's next phase, the Government will present different options for discussion by the public and the trade and will gather views to help draw up details for a feasible proposal.
The environmental levy scheme on plastic shopping bags is the first statutory producer responsibility scheme implemented under the Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance. It now covers about 3,000 major or chain supermarkets, convenience stores and personal health and beauty stores.
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