Indonesia: Plastic bag charge comes into force in 22 cities simultaneously

Antara 21 Feb 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) -From Sunday, February 21, shoppers in 22 cities will have to pay for plastic bags they use to take home their purchases.

Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya officiated the new policy simultaneously applied in 22 cities during the commemoration of National Trash-Free Day in the Hotel Indonesia Circle, here, Sunday.

"Pre-paid plastic bag system is now tried in 22 cities, such as Jakarta, Bandung, Balikpapan, Makassar and Surabaya. The system is being administered by provincial and municipality governments," the minister said.

The central government is facilitating and supporting local administrations to reduce plastic trash by applying the pre-paid plastic bag system, she noted.

The ministry has suggested that a shopper should be charged minimum of Rp200 per bag, but many cities will charge much higher to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags from home.

The Jakarta administration, for instance, has decided to charge Rp5,000 per bag in every shopping place, including in mini-markets and traditional markets.

Balikpapan in East Kalimantan Province will charge Rp1,500 per bag and Makassar in South Sulawesi Rp4,500 per bag.

Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil said his city could receive economic benefit worth Rp1 billion per day or Rp360 billion per year from the pre-paid bag policy.

The system will be tried for six months and evaluated in every three months.

Indonesia to reduce up to 1.9 tons of plastic garbage
Antara 21 Feb 16;

Bekasi, West Java (ANTARA News) - Indonesia plans to reduce its plastic garbage by up to 1.9 tons in a year through its garbage reduction program.

"The program will be implemented simultaneously across 22 cities in Indonesia, starting from February 21 in conjunction with the National Waste Care Day," head of the Directorate of Waste Management of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Sudirman, said here on Saturday.

He said national garbage production in a year has reached 64 million tons.

"Around 14 percent of the garbage comprises plastic, weighing 8.9 million tons," he said, after his speech at "Public Dialogue: Boosting the Use of Garbage Gas as Electricity Energy and Development of Regional Dumping Site" at Bantargebang integrated garbage management plant here on Saturday.

He said efforts to reduce the plastic garbage were in line with the governments National Mid-Term Development Plan to reduce national garbage by around 11 percent in 2016.

"One of the efforts is aimed at reducing plastic bags via this program," he said.

Sudirman said the plan would be carried out in stages, with the retail shopping centers being the first target.

He said later the consumers would be required to pay Rp200 per bag to carry their groceries.

"The policy will certainly be implemented in stages at traditional marketplaces," he said.

If the evaluation showed that plastic garbage dropped has significantly, then an increase in the price of plastic bag can be considered, he said.

The proceeds from the sale of plastic bags will later be accumulated and ploughed back into the retail shops economy to be used to support community welfare programs, he said. (*)

If the program is successful, the government will issue a ministerial regulation on this environmentally friendly policy.(*)

Indonesia to launch national trash-free movement
Antara 20 Feb 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Government is to launch the Indonesia Trash Free Movement 2020 during the commemoration of the trash-free day which falls on February 21.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and some 35 communities will declare the national movement on the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout, Jakarta Sunday, Director General of trash and waste management of the Environment and Forestry Ministry Tuti Hendrawati Mintarsih said here Saturday.

"President Joko Widodo will participate to promote the movement campaign by having a teleconference with four city mayors and asking the attendants to do kerja bakti (community service)," Mintarsih said.

As many as 706 local communities all over Indonesia also stated their support to the national movement in which they can elaborate the movement in a website ( and social media using #bebassampah2020 tagline.

During the launch of the movement, the government will also conduct a socialization of a policy trial on a plastic bag charge conducted in 22 cities and the entire regions of Jakarta.

The government has issued a regulation on plastic bag charge which oblige modern retailers to charge customers for plastic bags starting Sunday.

The policy is aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags. "That Indonesia will no longer become the second largest plastic garbage producer after China," Mintarsih said.

The movement has gained a lot of support, founder of Greeneration Indonesia Bijaksana Junerosano said.

"Various communities in Indonesia are enthusiastic about joining the movement. Some are willing to clean the garbage in the ocean, rivers, mountains or in cities," Junerosano said.

Meanwhile, official data from the ministry said that Indonesia will generate 68 million tons of garbage in 2019, which is 14 percent or around 9.52 tons of it is plastic garbage.

A study conducted by a research team, led by Jenna Jambeck from the University of Georgia, stated that more than half of the plastic waste that flows into the oceans comes from five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, along with Sri Lanka.

China was said to become the major contributor of worlds plastic waste with 8.82 tons per year of mismanaged plastic waste, while Indonesia sits at second place with 3.32 tons per year.

Shoppers say goodbye to free plastic bags
Corry Elyda, Indra Harsaputra, Hotli Simanjuntak and N. Adri, The Jakarta Post 22 Feb 16;

After a year of preparation, Indonesia kicked off on Sunday the implementation of a new policy that requires modern retailers to charge customers for plastic bags in the country’s biggest concerted effort to reduce plastic waste.

The policy, launched to coincide with National Waste Awareness Day, has been implemented in seven major cities — Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, Banda Aceh, Surabaya, Tangerang and Balikpapan — which together are home to almost 10 percent of the country’s 250 million people.

The plastic bag tax is expected to eventually be implemented in a total of 23 major cities.

In Jakarta, consumers have given the policy a warm welcome.

Christin, a 36-year-old housewife, was not surprised when a cashier at a convenience store in Palmerah, West Jakarta, said that she had to pay Rp 200 (1.5 US cent) to get a plastic bag for the bottle of mineral water she had just bought.

“Oh, let me just put it in my bag,” she said, while zipping open her handbag and putting the mineral water in.

Christin said she had learned about the new policy from WhatsApp groups and the news.

“I think the policy is good for our environment,” she said.

In Surabaya, the country’s second largest city, 30-year-old Rita Sugiharto also expressed her support.

“I hope the program remains sustainable as it will prevent people from throwing away plastic bags carelessly,” she said.

Data from the Environment and Forestry Ministry shows that people consume up to 9.8 billion plastic bags every year in Indonesia, with 95 percent of those being made with plastics that take a considerable length of time to break down naturally.

In February last year, the ministry issued a circular stating that retailers should start charging for plastic bags. The call was prompted by petitions both online and offline, which attracted 70,000 signatures.

In Banda Aceh, Mayor Illiza Sa’aduddin said her administration would implement the policy in stages in a number of supermarkets and traditional markets.

Separately, the Balikpapan municipal administration in East Kalimantan expected the program to reduce the amount of garbage in the city by 50 tons daily.

Indonesia bag levy aims to cut pollution
Avantika Chilkoti in Jakarta, Financial Times 21 Feb 16;

Indonesia, the world’s second-biggest plastic polluter, has imposed a new levy on plastic bags — but experts say it is a tiny step towards ridding the nation of the biggest visible blight of its land and waters.

The country ranks second only to China as the world’s largest plastic polluter, according to a University of Georgia-led study of coastal countries last year. The result is clogged waterways and threatened marine life, hurting the country’s fishing and tourism industries.

The new levy on plastic bags, 9.6m of which handed out every day, came into effect on Sunday in 23 cities and regions, including the capital Jakarta, Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city and Denpasar in Bali. It is due to be rolled out nationwide in June.

Activists warn that the levy may fail to deter shoppers and could be ignored by small retailers given ingrained habits and a poor history of enforcing environmental rules. The scheme follows more piecemeal moves in other emerging markets, including parts of China and India, where official curbs on the use of plastic bags have had little effect.

On Sunday evening, hours after the new policy came into force, teenagers buying snacks didn’t a blink an eyelid at the Rp200 additional charge for a bag at one popular 7-Eleven store in central Jakarta, where a sign at the cashier warned customers of the new regulation. Meanwhile, smaller convenience stores in the area continued handing out carrier bags free of charge.

“The biggest challenge is how to educate people to participate in this program, how to make people understand that plastic bags take a long time to decay,” says Tuti Hendrawati Mintarsih at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Jakarta. “We are trying to change people’s mindset, to encourage people to bring their own bag when shopping.”

Official data suggests Indonesia produced 64m tons of garbage last year, 15 per cent of which was plastic waste. That compares with 49m in neighbouring Vietnam, which has a population just over one-third the size of Indonesia’s.

The government expects the scheme, limited to formal retailers at first, to reduce the total plastic waste produced in Indonesia this year by 1m tonnes — roughly one-tenth of the total and almost three times the weight of the Empire State Building.

Jakarta has been in talks with the Indonesian retailers association, Aprindo, to set the price for each plastic bag at between Rp200 ($0.01) and Rp500, all of which will go towards unspecified environmental campaigns — a lack of detail that has been attacked by green groups.

According to Yuyun Ismawati, an Indonesian environmental engineer and expert on waste management, the new measures are unlikely to prove effective unless the government also curbs producers’ use of excessive packaging and overhauls the
waste management system, given the country is still reliant on scavengers to sort household rubbish.

“I don’t think it’s fair putting the responsibility on the public to be responsible for the bag,” she says. “This is the beginning but there are a lot of issues that need to be looked at by the government if they want to take this seriously.”

In emerging markets like Indonesia, where much of the public shop in informal stalls and customers are used to receiving everything from groceries to traditional satay and iced teas tied up in plastic bags, the government faces major challenges in policing small traders and explaining the new charge to shoppers.

“I disagree with this policy entirely, plastic bags should be part of services from the store,” says Nevro Inef, 22, at the popular Hero supermarket in central Jakarta. “We do our shopping here and we deserve to get a plastic bag for free.”

Additional reporting by Taufan Hidayat in Jakarta

Indonesia launches campaign to reduce use of plastic bags
According to guidelines issued by the Environment Ministry, retailers should charge consumers up to Rp5,000 (US$0.37) for each plastic bag used.
Sujadi Siswo Channel NewsAsia 21 Feb 16;

JAKARTA: Indonesia on Sunday (Feb 21) launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags, with guidelines for retailers to charge consumers up to Rp5,000 (US$0.37) for each plastic bag used.

Although still under trial and not officially legislated yet, 23 cities and regions in the country have already started charging for plastic bags.

According to guidelines issued by the Environment Ministry, retailers should charge consumers between Rp200 and Rp5,000 for each bag. Jakarta’s municipal government has said it wants retailers in the capital to charge the maximum Rp5,000.

Indonesia is the world’s second-biggest user of plastic bags after China, with around 9.8 billion plastic bags used in the country each year.

The figure is expected to rise significantly together with the country’s burgeoning middle-class that currently stands at around 74 million people and is expected to double by 2020.

Retailers’ association APRINDO said its 100 members used nearly 11 million plastic bags last year. Its target is to reduce the figure by 20 per cent by 2020.

The campaign’s biggest challenge is to convince small retailers in traditional stores and markets, which account for 90 per cent of the country’s retail sector.

Major cities in Indonesia are facing waste management problems with limited landfills. The government has said it plans to build several plants to turn the waste into energy.

- CNA/cy

Indonesians Welcome Pay for Plastic Bag Policy
Shenny Fierdha Chumaira Jakarta Globe 22 Feb 16;

Jakarta. Indonesians have been quick to embrace the new policy of paying for plastic bags each time they purchase groceries, saying the environmental benefits outweigh the hassle of bringing their own bags.

“I agree with the policy and many advanced countries such as the US and those in Europe actually have implemented it a long time ago. It makes their number of plastic consumption really low,” Aini Mutiah Sabrina, a teacher in the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.

She added that like many of her peers she often brings her own reusable canvas bags from home.

“If I forget to bring my shopping bags, I will not buy anything unless it is really necessary.”

The policy, implemented in 22 cities across Indonesia, was rolled out on Sunday in a bid to cut down waste.

Indonesia ranks second among the world's largest plastic waste producers, behind only China, using 187.2 million tons each year, according to a study published last year in the journal Science.

The policy will run as a trial for six months, before being implemented elsewhere if proven successful, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said.

Although the ministry recommends charging customers Rp 200 per bag, the actual costs are decided by provincial and city governments.

But some are skeptical charging such a low sum will significantly reduce plastic waste — which takes dozens of years to decompose in the overflowing landfills across the country's major cities.

“The government could instead shut down plastic manufacturers and give them proper training to do business other than plastic,” travel agency owner Ria Pratama of Bogor, West Java, told the Globe.

Support mounts for bag charge policy despite shaky legal basis
Ni Komang Erviani, Ganug Nugroho Adi and Arya Dipa, The Jakarta Post 23 Feb 16;

Modern retailers in several major cities across the country have expressed a willingness to support and maintain the sustainability of the newly introduced plastic bag charge policy despite the absence of any legal standing with regard to the program in the respective regions.

The policy, launched on Sunday to coincide with National Waste Awareness Day, has initially been implemented in seven major cities — Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, Banda Aceh, Surabaya, Tangerang and Balikpapan — which, combined, are home to almost 10 percent of the country’s 250 million people.

It is expected that the plastic bag charge is to eventually be implemented in a total of 23 major cities.

With the exception of Bandung, none of the allocated cities have a bylaw or other legal standing with regard to plastic bag reduction.

This, however, has not discouraged modern retailers from joining the campaign.

In Denpasar, Bali, the management of Tiara Dewata, the island’s oldest supermarket chain, said it was ready to implement the program despite the absence of official information from local authorities.

Tiara Dewata spokesperson Gusti Ayu Sriani said that the supermarket had implemented various plastic programs to raise the public’s awareness on the dangers of plastic.

The supermarket already charges an additional fee when customers ask for extra plastic bags. In addition to this, customers who bring their own shopping bag with them to the supermarket are offered points that can be exchanged for gifts.

“It wasn’t easy to introduce the program,” Sriani said over the weekend.

“We try our best to explain its purpose to our customers.”

While Denpasar and Makassar, in South Sulawesi, were among the first cities to implement the program on Feb. 21, last week both cities confirmed that they would postpone due to paperwork issues.

The Denpasar administration’s Environment Agency head Anak Agung Bagus Sudharsana said the municipal administration would introduce the policy later this week after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with five retail companies, including Tiara Dewata.

In Bandung, retailers have also pledged their support for the policy.

“One of our challenges surrounds how we educate our outlet cashiers about the program,” said Muhammad Afran, a spokesperson for PT Sumber Alfaria Trijaya, the company that owns minimarket chain Alfamart and grocery store Alfamidi.

Bandung’s 2012 bylaw on plastic bag reduction only stipulates that retailers have an obligation to provide customers with environmentally friendly plastic bags; it mentions nothing about charging customers extra for using plastic bags.

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 for plastic bags.

Under the policy, customers shopping in malls, department stores, supermarkets and other modern retailers must now pay Rp 200 (1.5 US cents) for each plastic bag.

The fee, however, is subject to change if and when a local administration issues a bylaw or other official regulation regarding the implementation of the policy in its jurisdiction.

Meanwhile in Surakarta, Central Java, the municipal administration on Sunday distributed 5,000 free cloth bags to local residents in an attempt to educate the public about the plastic bag tax policy.

Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo said that his administration had secured commitments from modern retailers in Surakarta to jointly implement the policy, which is currently in trial stage in the city.

“We will soon seal their commitment in an MoU,” he said.

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