Date
21 November 2017
The 50 HK cent levy on plastic shopping bags will go a long way in protecting the environment. Photo: Bloomberg
The 50 HK cent levy on plastic shopping bags will go a long way in protecting the environment. Photo: Bloomberg

Plastic bag levy to cover all shops; food items exempted

The government will expand the scope of its levy on plastic shopping bags to cover all retailers in the full implementation of the program, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday.

Starting April 1, about 100,000 shops covered by the program will face fines if they fail to charge customers 50 HK cents for each plastic bag.

Exemption will be given to food items sold in unsealed packs, frozen or had to be placed inside the refrigerator.

Sellers are allowed to retain the levy but prohibited from giving discounts or other concessions to offset the charge.

The first phase of the levy was able to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags by 90 percent.

Environmental protection groups welcome the full implementation of the program but criticize the government for not conducting an adequate information campaign.

Since the start of the year, only about 22,000 retailers have been briefed about the new rules. Many retailers — as well as consumers — are still not familiar with the kinds of goods that are exempted from the levy, the report said.

The levy on plastic shopping bags, aimed at reducing waste and pollution, was introduced in 2009. Sellers who fail to impose the levy face a HK$2,000 fine.

Translation by Vey Wong 

[Chinese version 中文版]

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