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Supermarkets will begin charging for plastic bags

Date Posted: 2008-08-15

Okinawa’s major supermarket chains have banded together, taking a radical step toward reducing an environmental problem by discouraging use of popular plastic shopping bags.

Beginning October 1st, the prefecture’s leading supermarkets and department stores will charge ¥3 for each plastic shopping bag used by customers, a move they hope will spur consumers to bring their own shopping bags to the stores. The decision follows an extended test by several of the store chains, who discovered customers adapted well to bringing their own bags instead of paying for a store-provided bag.

The new policy is expected to save about 312 million plastic bags a year, a reduction of about 80% compared with bags given out by stores now. The ¥3 charge for plastic bags under the new program will be used to offset potential environmental problems.

Supermarkets and stores to charge for plastic bags are San A, Kanehide, Okinawa Mitsukoshi, Jimmy’s, Jusco, Coop Okinawa, Marudai, Prefecture A Coop, J A Okinawa and Nodake Trading. The Prefecture Waste Management Division, in studying the problem, said the average person uses 300 plastic bags each year.

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