Traditional markets slow to use environmentally friendly plastic bags

July, 02/2022 - 18:18
Traditional markets have been slow to embrace the use of environmentally friendly bags.

Modern distribution channels have almost completely converted to using environmentally friendly bags instead of plastic bags. — Photo sggp.org.vn

HCM CITY — HCM City has set a target for 100 per cent of supermarkets and commercial centres to use eco-friendly bags by the end of this year.

Accordingly, small businesses and traditional markets are targeted to reduce 50 per cent of non-biodegradable plastic bags by the end of this year and 65 per cent by the end of next year.

However, traditional markets have been slow to embrace the use of eco-friendly bags.

The rate of using eco-friendly bags in traditional markets has only reached 18 per cent.

According to the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, the demand for plastic bags in distribution systems is currently estimated at 16,548 tonnes per year, of which the volume of environmentally friendly bags accounts for 93.6 per cent, equivalent to 15,490 tonnes.

The amount of plastic bags used in traditional markets is 1,176 tonnes per year, of which the volume of eco-friendly bags accounts for only 12 per cent, equivalent to more than 200 tonnes.

The amount of plastic bags used in modern forms of distribution, including supermarkets and commercial centers, is 15,372 tonnes per year, of which eco-friendly bags account for 99.4 per cent.

According to the assessment of the industry and trade industry, modern distribution channels, such as Saigon Co.op, Satra, Bách Hoá Xanh and Big C, have almost completely converted to using environmentally friendly bags instead of plastic bags.

However, the use of eco-friendly bags in HCM City has not been complete as they are less affordable and convenient to use compared to traditional non-degradable plastic bags.

In fact, non-degradable plastic bags have been widely embraced in some traditional markets, such as Bà Chiểu Market in Bình Thạnh District, Tân Định Market in District 1 and Bình Khánh Market in Thủ Đức City.

Lê Thị Thái, a small vendor selling vegetables at Bà Chiểu Market, said that she usually uses one to two kilos of plastic bags every day.

Though eco-friendly bags are encouraged at the market, Thái and many similar vendors opted for a more convenient and cheaper option.

Lê Thanh Hải from the management board of Tân Định Market said that locals’ awareness on the importance of using eco-friendly shopping bags is relatively poor.

“Even a tiny fish can use up to three plastic bags for the packaging,” he added.

High price, unsatisfactory quality

Hải acknowledged that price is the most significant challenge when it comes to encouraging vendors to use eco-friendly bags.

While non-biodegradable plastic bags cost about VNĐ17,000 per kilo, environmental-friendly bags are more than VNĐ40,000 per kilo.

The design and quality of eco-friendly shopping bags have not met the needs of small businesses, which can be seen from how non-degradable plastic bags are more durable and can hold many heavy and large-sized items.

Eco-friendly bags can easily tear or rip right away when carrying a heavy weight, and this is the basic reason why calling for small vendors to use shopping bags has been challenging, he said.

Although the management board of Tân Định Market regularly encourages the use of eco-friendly bags, the number of small traders using this type of shopping bag has not increased as expected. In fact, it has decreased over time.

Hải said it is necessary to have a policy to reduce the cost of eco-friendly bags, increase the selling price of non-degradable plastic bags, create different types of bags and further improve the quality of them to meet the needs of sellers. — VNS

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