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Retailers charge customers for plastic bags in Indonesia

In an attempt to discourage the use of plastic bags, the Indonesian government has imposed a policy on all the retailers to charge customers for the plastic bags. Retailers include all the supermarkets, stores and traditional vendors as well.

Bandung, one of the major cities of Indonesia, is charging customers the minimum Rp 200 per bag. As per Mayor Ridwan Kamil, by charging customers for plastic bags, the city will not only reduce waste but also generate revenue. “Buying plastic bags can generate Rp 1 billion a day for the city government. In a year we should have Rp 360 billion from plastic bag sales. That can be earmarked to buy dump trucks, build incinerators or a recycling plant,” he said.

Bogor, which is located on the outskirts of Jakarta, has also ordered retailers and stores to charge Rp 200 per plastic bag.

“The government [central and local] have agreed that the lowest price for each plastic bag is Rp 200. What matters most is to reduce the use of plastic bags, if we do not see a significant impact from the policy, and then there might be a possibility to raise the price.” Bogor mayor Bima Arya said.

Indonesia Retailers Association (Aprindo) will help the government in creating awareness among people about the negative impact of plastic bags on environment through various social media platforms and posters displayed at retail stores, according to Roy Adey, chairman of Aprindo.

“If the policy calls for the fee to go above Rp 200 per plastic bag, we are concerned that it will decrease the number of customers shopping at modern retail stores. The government has to protect every industrial sector to allow it to grow, including the retail industry,” Roy said.

As per the study published last year in the journal Science, Indonesia is positioned at the second rank as the world’s largest plastic waste producer, using 187.2 mln tons each year. China was ranked at first place, producing 262.9 million tons of plastic waste, most of which ends up in the ocean.

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