Indonesia: Traditional markets to join pay-per-plastic bag program

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post 29 Feb 16;

As modern retailers begin to implement the plastic reduction policy, traditional markets in Bali are following suit.

At Agung Peninjoan traditional market in Denpasar, vendors have stopped using plastic bags and now use paper bags instead.

One seller, Kadek Sariasih, said she was more than happy to support the plastic reduction policy by using paper bags, which are provided by the market’s operator.

“I feel happy giving paper bags to customers instead of plastic bags. I used to use plastic to pack the things in,” said 29-year-old Sariasih while putting a big load of chilis into a paper bag for a customer.

Recently, the market’s management launched a program that required sellers to change to paper bags, making it one of two traditional markets — the other being Sindu market in Sanur — to participate in the plastic diet.

Head of Agung Peninjoan market’s management, Nyoman Suwarta, said the program was aimed at educating vendors and customers about the danger of plastic for the environment.

As a start, the operator made the paper bags by themselves and distributed 300 to each vendor during the program’s launch.

But with a total of around 350 vendors, Suwarta admitted that the first lot was far from enough to replace plastic bags altogether. “The paper bags are only part of our attempt to raise awareness. We hope that vendors will make paper bags by themselves in the future,” Suwarta said.

A few modern retailers in Bali have implemented the plastic bag policy, such as Alfamart and Hardy’s, and some will start implementing it in the near future.

Denpasar Environment Agency head Anak Agung Bagus Sudharsana said the plastic bag payment program would be implemented in several phases. “Our target is for all modern retailers and traditional market in Denpasar to have implemented the plastic bag policy by June on World Environment Day,” he said.

He said the policy was expected to reduce plastic garbage in the city by around 30 percent. Denpasar produces at least 3,200 cubic meters of garbage every day, 30 percent of which is plastic.

Bali Environment Education Center (PPLH) stated that the policy should be accompanied by other programs to make it more effective.

PPLH director Catur Yudha Haryani said the policy would be useless if the price of plastic bags was too cheap, adding it should be set at Rp 3,000 (22 US cents) per bag in traditional markets and Rp 5,000 in modern supermarket.

Plastic bag charge levied on customers too low: Bandung mayor
Antara 29 Feb 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Mayor of Bandung Ridwan Kamil believes that the price of a plastic bag at Rp200, or less than two cents, being charged to customers is too low.

"For metropolitan cities, it is too cheap," the mayor stated here, Sunday.

The price will be evaluated in June 2016, and he hopes that it would be increased to more than Rp two thousand per bag.

"It should be higher than the charge for using public toilets at Rp two thousand, I think," he noted.

As the mayor of Bandung, which is a shopping tourism destination, Kamil has expressed his support to the governments policy to charge shoppers who ask for plastic bags.

Most of the waste in the capital of West Java comprises plastic, according to a survey conducted by the citys urban planning unit.

"A study conducted by the urban planning unit revealed that floods in Bandung were caused by wastes blocking the sewage system, and 70 percent of the waste was plastic," Kamil remarked.

It is time to encourage the people to carry their own shopping bags to markets, he added.

Effective from February 21, customers in 23 cities have to pay for the plastic bags they use to take home their purchases.(*)

Ambon Legislator Laments 'Flawed' Implementation of Paid Plastic Bag Policy
Vonny Litamahuputty & Jeis Montesori Jakarta Globe 1 Mar 16;

Ambon. A legislator in Ambon, Maluku province, has criticized the central government's implementation of the new policy that requires businesses to charge for plastic shopping bags, saying that it has led to confusion and discrepancies.

Ambon is one of 20 cities nationwide to adopt the policy, initiated by the Ministry for the Environment in an effort to reduce pollution caused by plastic bags. The ministry has however provided provincial and local governments with the discretion to formulate how much customers would have to pay for plastic bags.

"Some [retailers in Ambon] charge anything between Rp 500 and Rp 5,000 [4 cents to 40 cents] per bag, with no regulations to refer to. This disadvantages customers," Ambon Legislative Council member Jusuf Latumeten said on Tuesday (01/03).

Jusuf urged the city administration to reconsider the program, saying that it is placing a heavy burden on local residents amid the poor economic conditions in the city.

City secretary A.G. Latuheru said his office would evaluate the situation and formulate the best price customers should pay for plastic shopping bags.

"We will fix every flaw so that the policy will bring good to the people instead of burdening them," he said.

Indonesia ranks second to China as the world's largest producers of plastic waste, generating an estimated 187.2 million tons per year, according to a study published in the journal Science last year.

Education crucial to success of plastic bag charge policy: Observer
Antara 3 Mar 16;

Padang (ANTARA News) - Education and public awareness campaigns are crucial for the success of the governments plastic bag charge policy aimed at reducing the volume of plastic wastes, according to an environmental expert.

If the objective of levying a charge on the use of plastic bags is intended to conserve the environment, then it should be made known to the public through education and public awareness campaigns, Fadjar Goembira of the University of Andalas stated here.

Goembira observed that some customers were still bewildered on being asked to pay for plastic bags that they will take home. They thought it was based on economic consideration, he added.

"The objective and goal of applying the plastic bag charge policy should be explained in detail," he remarked.

The government should offer a detailed explanation to the public that the policy is aimed at reducing plastic wastes that have serious impacts on the environment.

Once the people become aware of the impacts of plastic wastes on the environment, they would voluntarily bring their own shopping bags from home, he pointed out.

Goembira suggested that the government should regularly evaluate and monitor the implementation of its policy to gauge the extent of its success or failure.

Plastic bag charge too low to have any impact, sniffs mayor
Ganug Nugroho Adi and Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post 8 Mar 16;

The administration of Surakarta, Central Java, has withdrawn from a national policy that requires modern retailers to charge customers for plastic bags, deeming the initiative unlikely to cut plastic bag consumption.

Surakarta Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo said that the charge, at Rp 200 (15 US cents) per bag, was too low to serve as a deterrent, as is intended.

“The plastic bag policy will not change people’s habits, especially because plastic bags are sold for only Rp 200. If the price were set at Rp 20,000 per bag, people would choose to bring their own bags,” Rudy said at Surakarta city hall on Monday.

The Jakarta administration has also withdrawn from the program, and will instead enforce a 2013 bylaw on waste management, which Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja said was sufficient to reduce plastic waste.

The policy was issued by Environment and Forestry 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 for each bag.

An agreement between the Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) and city administrations was recently signed in Makassar, South Sulawesi, also on National Waste Awareness Day.

When the initiative was launched, the Surakarta administration said it had been encouraging people to take their own non-plastic bags when shopping. If modern shops still provided paid plastic bags, Rudy said, the plastic reduction policy would be meaningless.

He went on that the administration would cooperate with the Surakarta branch of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to produce shopping bags from non-plastic and recycled materials such as recyclable paper, rattan, natural fibers and coconut leaves.

The mayor is also considering asking private companies, through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, to participate in the plan.

“We will sit down and discuss programs to produce recycled shopping bags,” Rudy said.

Separately, Surakarta Kadin chair Sri Haryanto said that businesspeople in the city would support the efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags, adding that Kadin was engaged in discussions with a number of MSMEs to produce environmentally friendly shopping bags.

“I think such programs could benefit MSMEs. We hope they will come up with creative products to increase the choices available,” Sri said.

Meanwhile, modern retailers in Surakarta are ready to comply with Rudi’s instructions.

Alfamart regional spokesperson Firly Firlandia said the company had applied the policy according to the circular issued by the environment ministry.

Responding to the mayor’s instruction to ignore the policy, however, Firly said that Alfamart would fully support the instruction, but added that the management would first wait for an official letter from the city administration regarding the matter.

“We are in support of reducing plastic waste. Doing so is in the interests of everyone. However, before implementing the [mayor’s] instruction, we first need a legal basis, for example a mayoral regulation or a circular from the city administration. We need something official,” Firly said.

Surakarta produces 260 tons of garbage every day, 20 percent of which is plastic, and only 10 percent recyclable.