More Hong Kong retail outlets will not provide consumers free plastic bags if a government extension goes through this week.
Hong Kong's Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags, the Product Eco-responsibility (Amendment) Bill 2013 is being introduced into the Legislative Council for its scrutiny on May 8. The proposal received general support from the community when it was put to public consultation in 2011.
The bill seeks to extend the PSB Levy Scheme to cover the entire retail industry. Upon enactment and implementation, free distribution of plastic shopping bags will be banned at all points of sale. Consumers will be charged at least 50 cents per bag as an economic disincentive to discourage the excessive use of plastic shopping bags.
The extended scheme will cover all retail outlets including small and medium enterprises. To reduce their administrative burden, the bill proposes that retailers may handle the bags charge on their own without having to remit it to the government. But the government encourages them to favorably consider using such income to support environmental protection or other charitable causes.
Implemented on July 7, 2009, the first phase of the PSB Levy Scheme has reportedly been effective in significantly reducing the distribution of plastic shopping bags from some 3,300 registered retail outlets.