Charging for plastic bags at shops pays off

Customers have been carrying cloth bags to stores in order to avoid paying for the carry bags available; this has led to a 54 per cent dip in their sale 

It's working! Ever since the Environment Ministry decided to make customers dip into their pockets and purchase plastic carry bags in retail stores across the city, shoppers have been giving them a wide berth, leading to the desired dip in sales.

Say no to plastic: Retail stores and malls have been charging customers
Ra 3-5 for plastic carry bags. file pic

According to a study conducted by the Retailer's Association of India (RAI), the sale of plastic bags has declined by 54 per cent. A survey conducted by the organisation revealed that while 65 per cent shoppers had welcomed the environment-friendly move, 20 per cent had given a lukewarm response to it, while the remaining 15 per cent had opined that the move should be done away with.

Kumar Rajgopalan, CEO of RAI, said, "We have received an overwhelming response from the shoppers. Only a small percentage of the shoppers are reluctant to pay up for the plastic bags, but we are sure that they too will see the benefits of the move soon."

He added that shoppers had been noticed getting their own cloth bags for shopping trips, ever since the rule was implemented, and this had led to the low consumption of plastic bags.

However, Rajgopalan added that the unorganised retail sector is yet to warm up to the recently imposed norm.
"We hope that smaller retailers too start charging their customers for the plastic bags that they provide. We have already spoken to the BMC, urging them to ensure that the law be made applicable on all traders, big and small," he said.

Environment Secretary Valsa Nair Singh said, "We have received a great response from the citizens. We have asked the BMC to frame stringent laws that make the norm applicable to all retailers."

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