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This blog captures the musings and anecdotes of the daily life of a Malaysian who is now living in Melbourne, Australia.


Malaysian Retailers Not "Green" At All.

1st July has been deemed the "No Plastic Bag Day" in the state of Penang, Malaysia.

Penang Declares Mondays "No Plastic Day"

PENANG, June 5 (Bernama) -- The 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.


On a serious note, it is encouraging to see that the state of Penang is starting out on this most "courageous" task of being the guinea-pig to initiate this habit in the country of Malaysia. It has already been a practice in countries like Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea to use green bags, that are available cheaply and affordably.

During my visit to Japan early this year, I was surprised to see that Japan, an advanced country, has yet to practise it widely or as well as their up-coming but equally catching up in technological advancement, South Korea.

My observation has led me to see that as a nation, South Korea has successfully implemented the practice of recycling and reduction of the use of plastic bag effeciently on a nation-state level, and I was thoroughly impressed on how all merchants to retailers to fastfood restaurants and homes as well as consumers have it down to a fine art.

Rubbish Bin@ Seoul, South Korea
Rubbish divided into compartments for glass, paper cups, organic (liquid waste, & food waste), paper products, & plastic.


The only parties that stand to lose in this game of promoting the use of "plastic bag" and persuading the public to change to use of paper bags, and recyclable "green bags" are the Plastic Bag Manufacturers. They are the ones who will continue to try to push the retailers to use plastic bags, or maybe charge a lower price for plastic bags as to not lose their source of revenue, but times change, man. Times change.


My observation has led me to notice that many retailers are jumping on the bandwagon, not so much because that they really want to "save the environment", but as an opportunity to make money and \over-charging consumers as high as RM5 for a "green bag".

When I was in Australia, supermarkets like Coles, & Woolworths were only selling their "green bags" for as low as 99AUD, which after conversion, is about RM2.50. These bags are made & imported from China. Malaysian retailers too like Jaya Jusco, Carrefour Giant, have similar "green bags" available at their stores, which are also made & imported from China.

But how much do these so-called "green bags" cost? A walk around the stores, you will find that they cost at least minimum RM5 for one.

Let me ask you, who in their right mind among the public has the financial meanst to be able to afford RM5.00+ for a 'green bag', which one could easily get for as low as RM2.50 in Australia, and both are imported from China??

How do these retailers JUSTIFY their reason for selling the "green bags" at an inflated price?


Let me describe to you an experience of mine when I was in hypermarket Carrefour Mid Valley Kuala Lumpur recently. My mother and I were there to make some purchases at the hypermarket, and she had to get a number of reams of A4 photocopy paper for work purposes. When we went to the check-out counter to pay for our merchandise, the personnel manning the terminal stated that she "HAD TO' put plastic bag for the purchases.

Here are two things that I could observe from the situation. As a security measure, either Carrefour is not a very smart retailer (meaning that Carrefour's Management's Committee is not cost effective & very STUPID), because they are wasting money to purchase plastic bags to insist customers MUST use it.


As what I have observed JUSCO's check-out staff done in the past, they just stick a green tape with the word "JUSCO" or something similar printed on it, to inform the security personnel that the payment has been made for the merchandise.


The very next time I go to Carrefour, I will do a test. I'm going to take along my own 'green bag' which is a TFS bag that was given to me free when I was in South Korea. Then I will see what the staff & security's response to it. Wait for the news.


1. Malaysian retailers MUST lower the price of their "green bags" to encourage customers to buy them. Retailers should think long term, where it is a means for them to lower their cost of having to purchase plastic bags, and use "shopping bags" as a form of advertisement, as is done in countries like Australia & New Zealand.

2. Using "sticky-tape" like what JUSCO in Malaysia has done is cost effective than wrapping purchases in plastic bags. It is NOT COST-EFFECTIVE.

Related Links:
Bernama; State News- Penang- No Plastic Bag Day

1 comment

Bag Brag Diva said...

They should do it like China's R&R. They charge 50 cent per plastic bag.

That'll make us think twice about taking a plastic bag with our packet of M&M's.

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