Some People Are Using the Free Transparent Plastic Bags for Fresh Produce to Avoid Paying for Plastic Bags


If there’s one thing you can trust all Singaporeans to do, it’s to always act truthfully no matter what-

No, who are we kidding?

But for real, if there’s one thing you can trust all Singaporeans to do, it’s anything that’ll help us get free items.

And it seems like that applies to plastic bags too.

Even though chain supermarkets have started charging money for them.

If you’ve been to the supermarket in the past week or so, you’ve probably noticed that large chain supermarkets have started charging $0.05 per plastic bag.

But you know that the cheapo aunties living inside all of us definitely won’t pay for plastic bags.


Instead, some shoppers have resorted to using the free transparent plastic bags at supermarkets.

Yes, the ones used for bagging your fresh produce.

Customers’ Explanations Behind Taking the Plastic Bags

When reporters from Lianhe Zaobao visited six supermarkets last Wednesday (5 July), they saw a middle-aged lady take one of the transparent plastic bags to store her purchase even though it was a small item.

Another lady grabbed a stack of plastic bags and stuffed them into her bag.

Other shoppers also placed items like milk, biscuits and disposable underwear in plastic bags.

Wang Xiuyu (Hanyu pinyin), a retiree who took two plastic bags, told Zaobao that she usually keeps a supply of plastic bags to store small pieces of rubbish like coffee grounds and beer cans.

According to her, she took the plastic bags as spares and only took two because someone was there reminding shoppers not to take too many.

A man named Mr Yang (Hanyu pinyin) took five plastic bags to bag his frozen food, bread and fruit juice even though he brought his own reusable bag.

He said that he took the plastic bags to separate the items as he did not want them to be mixed together within his recyclable bag.

In general, Zaobao reporters noted that most shoppers brought their own recyclable bags.

Cashiers also took note of shoppers without bags and either recommended that they purchase the recyclable bags at the supermarket or ensured that they paid for their plastic bags.

Seems Like People Used the Transparent Plastic Bags Because They Forgot to Bring Their Own Reusable Bags

When Zaobao reporters visited a few other supermarkets yesterday (10 July), there was a visible increase in the number of people who brought their own shopping bags.

There was also a decrease in the number of people misusing the free transparent plastic bags.

A cashier from a Sheng Siong outlet at Serangoon shared with Zaobao that there was indeed a substantial number of people who used the free plastic bags when the plastic bag charge first kicked in.


However, for most of them, it was because they forgot to bring their own recyclable bags.

Environmental Organisation’s Response

Ms Aarti Giri, the founder of Plastic-Lite Singapore, told Zaobao that shoppers using the free transparent plastic bags when supermarkets started charging for them was not a surprise to her.

This was because some people might have forgotten to bring their own bags or needed time to get used to the change.

She then explained that the most important part is changing people’s lifestyle habits and allowing Singaporeans to cultivate the good habit of bringing their own recyclable bags whenever they go out instead of relying on plastic bags from the different shops or sellers they visit.

Apart from that, she also expressed her hopes to see the relevant authorities educate the public on how to reduce their plastic bag usage, especially since most people in Singapore are overreliant on them.

She explained that many people use plastic bags to store their rubbish or sort their items and that, as an environmentalist, she feels that it is an extremely detrimental habit.


According to her, members of the public do not engage in this habit on purpose, but rather,  they are unaware of how to use alternative methods to store, carry or sort items.

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