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Pay more if you do not bring your own bag

Posted Sep 28 2008 11:18am

It is my mistake this time, for not bringing my reusable grocery bags to Beijing. My last trip to Jakarta, I remembered to bring my Rootote, maybe because I knew I would buy something. :p

And this trip to Beijing, I’ve completely forgotten about it, maybe deep in my heart I do not feel like buying anything. :p (excuse!)

On my third day (Saturday), I was so sick of the snack served in the focus group observation room, so I went to a supermarket to buy my own snacks. Upon checking out, I was asked whether I need a plastic bag or not.

Looking at the number of items in the basket, I nodded. There goes –> they charged me 30 cents for a plastic bag.

But I am not angry! Indeed, I praised them for doing this. The cashier told me that most of the locals would bring their own bags.

This is a very good move, not sure if it is encouraged by the government, or is it just the supermarket’s own initiative. It is definitely a very good and effective way to encourage (force?) us to reduce plastic bag consumption.

I can imagine if we start this in Malaysia, people would probably boycott the supermarket. Is it because the awareness in our society is not that good, or is it lack of government’s involvement in this?

I remember back in April, when I went to Yunnan for holiday, the local town councils actually fines the outlets if they give out plastic bags. Every where, there are reminders to be environmental, to care for the animals and other resources, etc. I have to say I am extremely impressed with the effort and the results of the China government in this.

In the focus groups that I have attended in this trip, there were a lot of mentions on environmental (not our research subject). And my agency contact, an American from LA, told me that compared with other countries that we researched the same subject, China is the only country that environmental was brought in to the discussion.

BTW, this supermarket that charged me 30 cents for a plastic bag, only offered the plastic bags to customers who buy more than they can carry without a bag. For example, I returned today, to buy 2 books. The cashier didn’t even ask me whether I need a bag or not, maybe because if I don’t have one I could carry the 2 bags with my hands!

This trip teach me a lesson - keep at least one of my Envirosax/Rootote in my handbag all the time! I used to do that back home, but changed my handbag for this trip, and there I forgot to slip it in. :p

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