Malaysia: No more plastic bags in Johor supermarkets

The Star 14 Jun 17;

JOHOR BARU: All hypermarkets and supermarkets in Johor have to replace their plastic bags and polystyrene containers with biodegradable ones beginning July 1.

State Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said hypermarkets were supposed to have done this early this month but it was postponed due to Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“This is among the first steps by the state government to make Johor plastic and polystyrene-free starting from Jan 1, 2018,” he said after launching Iskandar Malaysia Ecolife Challenge (IMELC) 2017 at the Johor Education Department yesterday.

He said Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity Corp (J-Biotech) was appointed as an anchor in implementing the use of biodegradable products.

“J-Biotech is in the midst of finding a proper mechanism and is discussing with supermarkets and hypermarkets.

“Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin will make an announcement on how we will implement it at the next state Budget tabling,” he added.

Ayub said he did not see any problem with the stores complying with the state ruling.

He reminded the community to bring along their own bags when shopping for groceries.

On the event, Ayub said IMELC’s main objective was to protect the environment under the Low Carbon Society Blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia 2025.

He added that the plan was to make Iskandar Malaysia a developed economic corridor with low carbon emission of 58% until 2025.

Since the IMELC was introduced four years ago, 77 primary schools within the Iskandar area had dramatically lowered their water and electricity bills, he said.

“This year, the programme has been expanded to 346 schools involving 34,000 students and I believe Iskandar will be a low carbon society,” he added.

Johor’s switch to biodegradable food containers gains support
The Star 17 Jun 17;

JOHOR BARU: Food and beverage operators are supporting the state government’s biodegradable-containers-only policy which will take effect on July 1, with some already introducing such containers to customers.

Food stall owner Rozita Ramli, 53, who has been running her business at Taman Maju Jaya for the past 14 years, said her customers were getting used to the biodegradable plastic containers.

She started using them this month.

“Despite the containers costing more, we are supporting the state government’s initiative against the use of polystyrene due to its harmful effects.

“The biodegradable products are not only safer to use but also slightly larger and microwaveable, she said yesterday.

She said the green containers were being sold at about three times the price of the polys­tyrene type. A pack of 100 polystyrene containers is about RM7 while the biodegradable ones are RM22.

Rozita said it was harder to get supplies of the biodegradable containers now but she expected this to change soon, with the price dropping as well.

The containers are cheaper in the states that adopted the green-containers-only policy, such as Penang and Melaka, said Rozita.

Restaurant owner Ng Yaw Kwang, 35, agreed that the banning of polystyrene containers was a good move.

“It is also better for the environment,” he said.

It was reported that all hypermarkets and supermarkets in Johor have to replace their plastic bags and polystyrene containers with biodegradable ones from July 1.

This was announced as the state government’s first step towards making Johor polystyrene-free by 2018.

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