Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

April 28, 2009


Local Governments' Efforts to Reduce Plastic Bags Spread Nationwide

Keywords: Government Local government NGO / Citizen Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) of Japan conducted a nationwide survey on local governments' efforts to reduce plastic shopping bags on November 1, 2008. According to the results compiled on January 14, 2009, 80 percent of prefectures and 40 percent of municipalities have already implemented schemes to in some way reduce the use of plastic shopping bags. Including prefectures that plan to join such activities or plan to devise original activities, almost all prefectures in Japan are actively involved in schemes to reduce plastic bags.

With regard to charging for plastic shopping bags, Toyama, Yamanashi and Okinawa have carried out a scheme throughout the prefecture, and at the municipal level, 245 municipalities have started the charge under the tie-up agreement with supermarkets. As compared to the last survey in April 2008, which found that about 30 local governments had such schemes, many more local governments have implemented measures to reduce plastic bags. Three more prefectures plan to implement similar schemes by April 2009, and 125 municipalities will by the end of March 2010.

Some local governments have successfully started reducing plastic bags by installing a system allowing consumers who decide not to use plastic bags to receive local currency or shopping points, which can then be exchanged for discount tickets or gift certificates. Some local governments have asked businesses such as supermarkets for cooperation, leaving the selection of such methods up to them. MOE reported that local governments' efforts in reducing plastic shopping bags are steadily expanding nationwide.

Posted: 2009/04/28 06:00:15 AM