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Neglectful shoppers pressure vendors on Day 1 of Jakarta's plastic bag ban

Jakarta Post - July 2, 2020

Jakarta – Several vendors at Jakarta's markets are finding that shoppers are yet to abide by the administration's newly enacted ban on single-use plastic bags, with many shoppers arriving without reusable bags and requesting kresek (plastic bags).

The gubernatorial regulation banning single-use plastic bags at traditional markets, modern supermarkets and minimarkets in the capital city came into force on Wednesday. The ban is part of the administration's strategies to reduce the city's plastic waste.

Fahri, who sells footwear at Pasar Raya Cibubur in Ciracas, East Jakarta, said that some of his customers blatantly ignored the ban, insisting that he give them plastic bags because they were "practical".

"We are finding it difficult [to follow the ban] because most shoppers don't bring [bags] from home. In the end, we give them plastic bags," Fahri said on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

Fahri said that the market's management was relying on customers' awareness of the ban, according to information the market operator had recently circulated among its traders.

"For example, if the market provided [reusable bags] at a lower price than plastic ones, maybe [customers] will buy them," he added, referring to bags made from spunbond nonwoven fabric.

Hendra, another vendor who sells children's clothing at Pasar Raya Cibubur, echoed Fahri, saying that the regulation fell short of committing fully to reducing plastic waste.

"If you want to reduce plastic waste, just stop the producers. We don't want to become victims of this regulation," Hendra suggested.

He said that some vendors could not spend the extra money to provide reusable bags for their customers, especially since spunbond bags were more expensive than plastic bags.

The gubernatorial regulation prohibits vendors from supplying customers with single-use bags, including bags made from polyethylene and thermoplastic materials.

It also promotes the use of eco-friendly bags made of plant-based materials, recycled materials, paper, cloth, polyester and polyester derivatives at stores and markets. Eco-friendly bags should be recyclable and use sufficiently thick materials so they can be reused several times.

Anti, a housewife, admitted it was difficult to adapt to the changes imposed by the new ban.

"The thing is, I prefer shopping [in bulk]," said Anti, and that the "special bags" were not large enough for her needs. She suggested that markets provide "special" shopping bags to customers for free.

The regulation still allows shops to provide single-use plastics for unpackaged, nonwrapped foodstuffs. This is not applicable, however, if eco-friendly alternatives are available.

Retail centers and markets that violate the ban are subject to a range of sanctions, from written warnings to fines of Rp 5 million (US$348) and to the suspension or revocation of business permits.

Several major cities in the country have already banned single-use plastics, including Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan, Balikpapan in East Kalimantan and Denpasar in Bali. (syk)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/07/02/neglectful-shoppers-pressure-vendors-on-day-1-of-jakartas-plastic-bag-ban.html