According to Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department (EPD)’s recent announcement, the government is

planning to ban the free distribution of plastic shopping bags and extend the HK$0.5 bag levy to all retailers.

The department said under its proposal, bags containing food, drink, medicine or other items requiring hygiene will be exempt from the ban. However, flat-top bags will be added and covered under regulation while any shopping bag made wholly or partially of plastic, including non-woven bags or paper bags with plastic lamination, will continue to be regulated.

Retailers can retain the bag charge without the need of remitting it to the government and the existing administrative requirements comprising registration of retailers and retail outlets, keeping of records as well as submission of quarterly returns to the government will be removed, proposed the EPD.

At present 3,300 registered retail outlets are required to charge their customers HK$0.5 for each plastic shopping bag.

The EPD revealed that 1,800 submissions were received during its recent three-month consultation on the issue and the feedback was supportive for the levy extension.

It added that plastic bag disposal has declined sharply since the implementation of the scheme in 2009.

The government is considering adding a fixed-penalty system for those who contravene the ban on free distribution of plastic bags.


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