Indonesia: Jakarta withdraws from plastic bag charge program

Dewanti A. Wardhani, The Jakarta Post 25 Feb 16;

The Jakarta administration has withdrawn from the national policy requiring stores to charge for plastic shopping bags that was issued by the Environment and Forestry Ministry just last week.

The policy was issued by Minister Siti Nurbaya on National Waste Awareness Day through a circular and stipulates that retailers must not give plastic bags to customers for free, but must charge at least
Rp 200 (1 US cent) for each.

The Jakarta administration will instead enforce a 2013 bylaw on waste management, which Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja said was sufficient for reducing plastic bag waste.

Therefore, Jakarta will instead order retailers to use biodegradable plastic bags and leave the decision to charge customers for them up to the retailers.

Jakarta was among seven cities, along with Tangerang, Banten, Bogor, West Java, Bandung, West Java, Banda Aceh, Aceh, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and Surabaya, East Java, to implement the policy. There were initially 23 cities, but many postponed action or backtracked because of a lack of preparation.

The seven cities make up almost 10 percent of the national population, but with a population of 10-million Jakarta backing out of the program will mean the six remaining cities would represent only about 6 percent of the country’s 250 million people.

Ahok said that the Jakarta administration would inform retail shops and convenience stores of the administration’s decision.

Article 21 of the bylaw states that shopping centers, shops and markets must use “environmentally friendly” plastic shopping bags as part of a citywide attempt to minimize waste, meaning that the plastic bags used must be made of recyclable and easily biodegradable materials.

Article 129 of the bylaw further states that all shopping centers, shops and markets that neglect or deliberately ignore their obligation to use biodegradable plastic shopping bags as stipulated in article 21 would be fined between a minimum of Rp 5 million and a maximum of Rp 25 million.

“The Jakarta administration has very detailed regulations on plastic bags and our bylaw is already very advanced as opposed to just imposing charges. We will enforce our own bylaw instead of enforcing the plastic bag charge policy,” Ahok told reporters at City Hall Wednesday.

Jakarta Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) head Junaedi said his office would disseminate information to retailers in the next three months.

He said that the production costs of biodegradable plastic bags were higher than of regular plastic bags, thus retailers could charge customers. Junaedi predicted that biodegradable bags would cost from
Rp 800 to Rp 1,000 each.

He, however, said that retailers could keep the money to cover the production costs of the biodegradable bags.

PT Indomarco Prismatama public relations manager Nenny Kristyawati said that Indomaret had already been using biodegradable bags since 2009. Indomaret does not charge customers for their plastic bags. Other retailers such as Alfamart and The Food Hall also uses biodegradable plastic bags.

Tiza Mafira, the director of the Plastic Bag Diet (DKP) movement said that her organization had never supported biodegradable plastic bags. She said such bags, which had earned Indonesian National Standards (SNI) certification, were not completely degradable in the natural environment.

Tiza, citing 2015 research by the United Nations Environment Programme, said many plastic bags found littering the sea were biodegradable.

“Reducing is the first step before reusing and recycling. The government cannot rely on regular plastic bags or oxodegradable or biodegradable bags as the only solution,” Tiza said, adding that she instead advised the Jakarta administration to implement the plastic bag charge policy.

Jambi stands against plastic bag fee policy
The Jakarta Post 24 Feb 16;

The Jambi administration has expressed opposition to the government’s new plastic bag policy, requiring modern retailers to charge customers for plastic bags. Mayor Sy Fasha said the program would only benefit retailers, calling it “irrelevant”.

“Why don’t we just ban them [plastic bags]?” Fasha said on Monday evening, as quoted by

In February last year, prompted by online and offline petitions that attracted 70,000 signatures, the Environment and Forestry Ministry issued a circular stating that retailers should start charging customers for plastic bags.

The policy was implemented in seven major cities on Sunday and is expected to eventually be implemented in a further 23 cities.

Fasha said that his administration had been considering whether or not to issue a regulation that bans the uses of plastic bags.

“It is better for residents to bring their own shopping or plastic bags from home,” he said.

Jakarta to regulate use of plastic bags
Antara 25 Feb 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Jakarta provincial administration plans to establish a gubernatorial regulation that manages the implementation of paid plastic bags in markets of the region.

"In order to implement the paid plastic bag policy in Jakarta, the administration will establish a regulation, which necessitates retailers to charge customers for plastic bags," Jakarta Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat stated here on Thursday.

The gubernatorial regulation will support the new pre-paid plastic bag policy that is being simultaneously applied in 22 cities.

Minister of Environmental Affairs and Forestry Siti Nurbaya had announced the new policy that makes it mandatory for shoppers to be charged a minimum of Rp200 per bag during the commemoration of National Trash-Free Day. The regulation is firstly being implemented by modern retail shops.

According to Hidayat, the gubernatorial regulation will levy penalties on retail shops in modern and traditional markets that do not follow the policy.

"We will test the policy by establishing a gubernatorial regulation as the legal foundation. After the regulation has been implemented successfully, we will establish the regional regulation on the use of plastic bags," Hidayat explained.

Hidayat said the prepaid plastic bag regulation can be implemented easily in modern markets compared to traditional markets.

Thus, the administration will impose appropriate sanctions on stores that do not abide by the policy.

The deputy governor stated that the policy was aimed at improving the peoples awareness of environment preservation by reducing the use of bags that will lessen the amount of plastic waste.

"We hope the people would not use plastic bags as the policy is being implemented in Jakarta. They can bring their own bags while shopping in markets to reduce plastic waste," Hidayat emphasized.

Indonesia plans to reduce its plastic garbage by up to 1.9 tons a year through the garbage reduction program.

According to the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Forestry, the annual national garbage production has reached 64 million tons, of which some 14 percent comprises plastic weighing 8.9 million tons. (*)

Jayapura supports plastic bag policy
The Jakarta Post 27 Feb 16;

JAYAPURA: The Jayapura municipal administration in Papua is making preparations to apply the plastic bag fee policy, Mayor Benhur Tommy Mano said on Friday. The new policy, to be applied in 22 major cities including Jayapura, requires modern retailers to charge costumers for plastic bags.

Mano said that his administration would disseminate information regarding the policy to the public so as to both increase awareness and invite opinion on the matter before implementation, Antara reported.

However, several retailers in the city have already begun to charge customers Rp 200 (1.5 US cents) per plastic bag.

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