SINGAPORE: Whether consumers should have to pay 5 cents for each plastic bag used in online purchases and if a 10-cent deposit would be extended to glass bottles were among the questions raised in a Parliament debate that began on Tuesday (Mar 21).
Nine MPs rose to speak on the Resource Sustainability (Amendment) Bill, which was passed on Wednesday.
The amendments introduce a legislative framework for a disposable carrier bag charge at supermarkets, a beverage container return scheme and a food waste reporting system. These measures aim to reduce waste and increase recycling in Singapore.
Major supermarkets will start charging S$0.05 (US$0.04) per plastic bag from Jul 3, while a 10-cent refundable deposit will be added to bottled and canned drinks from Apr 1, 2025.
New commercial and industrial buildings will need to submit food waste reports to the National Environment Agency (NEA) from January 2024. For existing buildings, the requirement will be rolled out progressively from the second half of 2025.
MPs Carrie Tan (PAP-Nee Soon) and Louis Ng (PAP-Nee Soon) highlighted the amount of packaging used when goods are delivered to customers.
“Merchants from e-commerce platforms are especially generous with their packaging, often using layers of bubble wrap and other materials, often boxes too big for small items,” Ms Tan said, though she acknowledged that retailers want to ensure their products are delivered in good condition.
Mr Ng called on the Ministry to implement the charge for online deliveries. “Grocery deliveries, in particular, are notorious for being packed in layers upon layers of disposable bags,” he said.