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Quantity of plastic shopping bags distributed by major retailers drops significantly in first two months this year
     ​A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said today (March 30) that after the implementation of the enhanced Plastic Shopping Bag (PSB) Charging Scheme (the Enhanced Scheme) on December 31, 2022, the quantity of PSBs distributed by major retailers dropped significantly in the first two months this year.

     According to the information the EPD obtained from major retail groups (including major supermarket chains and convenience stores) in Hong Kong, the overall distribution of PSBs (excluding flat-top bags) dropped by more than 60 per cent from January to February this year compared to the same period last year, and the distribution of flat-top bags by major supermarket chains even dropped by more than 80 per cent.

     A spokesman for the EPD said, "We are pleased to see that the Enhanced Scheme is effective in reducing the distribution of PSBs and hope that the public and the retailers can continue to go plastic-free."

     The EPD has continued to deploy staff to reach out to different types of retailers (especially small retail outlets and market stalls) after the implementation of the Enhanced Scheme. In the first two months of the implementation of the Enhanced Scheme, EPD staff had visited about 27 600 retail shops (including about 14 200 market stalls) to promote and introduce the enhancement measures. Meanwhile, other publicity work has been continuing, including TV and radio Announcements in the Public Interest, posters, leaflets, advertisements on public transport, online advertisements and the designated webpage (www.epd.gov.hk/epd/psb_charging/en/index.html). In addition, EPD staff had inspected about 4 100 retail points and issued a total of seven verbal warnings. So far no fixed penalty notice has been issued due to non-compliance with the requirements of the Enhanced Scheme.

     A spokesman said that in order to assess the effectiveness of the enhanced measures, the EPD will continue to monitor the PSB disposal rate and observe the usage of plastic bags at retail points after the implementation of the Enhanced Scheme. The EPD encourages members of the public to bring reusable shopping bags, or bring their own containers to contain foodstuff items so as to reduce unnecessary PSB usage. The department will continue to work with the trade to implement various waste reduction and plastic-free measures.
Ends/Thursday, March 30, 2023
Issued at HKT 15:00
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