Japan’s government has banned using plastic bags in 2018. On July 1st, the ban allows charging citizens for that illegal move. The Asian country produces more plastic packaging waste per capita than any nation apart from the United States, according to the UN.
In Japan, shops including the ubiquitous convenience stores can decide how much to charge customers for the bags, with a common price being three yen. In its efforts to decrease the plastic waste volume, Japan vowed to reduce its annual 9.4 million tonnes of plastic waste by a quarter by 2030, StraitsTimes reports.
In other words, bags account for two percent of the total amount of plastic waste. Retailers in Japan began charging for plastic bags on July 1st, a move aimed at curbing Japanese consumers’ love for packaging and finally bringing the country in line with other major economies.
Normally, visitors to Japan are often perplexed by the amount of packaging involved in even the most basic of transactions – most convenience stores wrap individual bananas in plastic.
While Japan produces a huge amount of plastic packaging waste per capita, eco campaigners criticising Tokyo for moving too slowly on reducing plastic consumption. In 2018, Japan has vowed to “curb excessive use of plastic and think about how to use it wisely,” according to its most recent policy document.
Japan bans plastic bags, increases recycling activity
Japan made plastic bag fees mandatory from today. In fact, the nation produces 9.4 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, and leaders from the most recent G20 major economies agreed to reduce marine plastic waste.
To deliver its promise, the Japanese government introduced a nationwide fee “is aimed at prompting people to think twice if a bag is really necessary and helping people to review their lifestyles.”
Japan touts an enviable waste-management system, and the government says more than 80 per cent of its plastic waste is recycled.
But much of that “recycling” involves simply incinerating plastic, often to produce energy – a process that generates carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change.