On March 7, 2022, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) announced that the country will begin charging for disposable carrier bags in supermarkets from mid-2023. Large supermarkets with annual sales of SGD100 million or more (approx. USD72 million) must charge at least SGD0.05 (approx. USD0.04) per disposable carrier bag in their physical stores. The fee applies to all materials (paper, plastic, biodegradable materials, etc.). It is also recommended that each supermarket utilize the proceeds from sales of disposable carrier bags for charitable and sustainability initiatives.
The NEA’s announcement can be viewed at the following URL.
Supermarket disposable carrier bags will incur a fee as follows.
|Billing model||Billed per disposable carrier bag|
|Amount billed||At least SGD0.05 (approx. USD0.04) per disposable carrier bag|
|Application scope||l Initially, the scheme will target supermarkets with annual sales of SGD100 million or more (approx. USD72 million). About two-thirds of the stores in Singapore fall under this category.
l Since disposable products have an impact on the environment during production, transportation, and disposal, disposable carrier bags made from any material (paper, plastic, biodegradable materials, etc.) will incur the fee*.
|Utilization of proceeds from sales of disposable carrier bags and disclosure of information||It is recommended that the proceeds from the sale of disposable carrier bags be utilized for charitable and sustainability initiatives. In addition, to ensure accountability and transparency regarding the use of proceeds, information on the number of disposable carrier bags sold, associated revenue, and its use must be disclosed.|
|Start timing||Mid 2023|
Background to the decision to impose a fee on disposable carrier bags
The decision to impose a fee on disposable carrier bags was made after more than a year of consultation with industry and citizens. One of the recommendations of the Citizens’ Workgroup on Reducing Excessive Consumption of Disposables, which was convened in September 2020 with 55 citizens, was the introduction of a fee for disposable carrier bags in supermarkets, and as a result, the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) and NEA initiated a public consultation. From January to February 2022, details of the disposable carrier bag fee were announced, and opinions were solicited, which led to this decision.
According to a survey conducted by the NEA in September 2021, more than 70 percent of approximately 1,000 citizens who were surveyed believe that a fee will reduce the use of disposable carrier bags.