NTUC FairPrice scraps 10-cent BYOB rebate, launches new scheme to reduce plastic bag use

NTUC FairPrice scraps 10-cent BYOB rebate, launches new scheme to reduce plastic bag use

file photo of ntuc fairprice
File photo of an NTUC FairPrice supermarket in Singapore. (Photo: NTUC FairPrice)

SINGAPORE: NTUC FairPrice on Monday (Jul 23) announced the launch of the “FairPrice Plastic Bag Management Programme”, a framework that looks to holistically reduce plastic bag use.

The programme, which was developed following a review conducted earlier this year, will replace the existing FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme on Aug 1.

First introduced in 2007, the scheme offered customers a rebate of S$0.10 for bringing their own bags to shop at FairPrice stores.

“While there has been an increase in the number of plastic bags saved since the FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme was introduced in 2007, progress has plateaued out – averaging at about 10.8 million bags saved per year in the last three years,” FairPrice said in a media release.

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The new Plastic Bag Management Programme now targets to save 30 million plastic bags per year by 2030.

NTUC FairPrice CEO, Mr Seah Kian Peng said: “For more than a decade, FairPrice has championed the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) movement in Singapore where we have invested more than S$4 million - through the FairPrice Green Rewards scheme - to urge the community to use fewer plastic bags.

“We will continue to drive this national initiative and focus on a holistic and scalable framework that aims to address the wider impact of plastic bag use on the environment, while taking into consideration customer needs and habits. 

"Through this renewed commitment, we look to galvanise the community, industry partners, interest groups and government agencies to create a greater collective impact in protecting our environment.”

The FairPrice Plastic Bag Management Programme will take a four-pronged approach in its efforts to reduce plastic bag usage.

Firstly, it will review internal processes and implement policies and practices to trim plastic bag packaging in operations. Enhanced environmentally-friendly bagging practices will also be introduced for cashiers.

Shoppers will be encouraged to reduce their use of plastic bags and embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle through public education programmes. 

FairPrice will work with both governmental and non-governmental organisations to jointly produce and implement education programmes. Among other efforts, FairPrice will support an upcoming public education campaign by Zero Waste SG to raise awareness of BYOB.

FairPrice will also increase investment and continued support for whole-of-nation efforts to reduce plastic bag use. 

FairPrice is currently working with Nanyang Polytechnic on activating students from the Nanyang Polytechnic Foundation Programme to design a reusable bag for public distribution. 

Beyond this, FairPrice will also work with suppliers and manufacturers to explore better packaging design and material.

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In its media release, FairPrice also said it will make donations to organisations who exemplify efforts to promote sustainable practices locally. 

FairPrice has since committed S$50,000 to the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and Zero Waste SG to fund their sustainability efforts.

“We are very grateful for this long-term collaboration and partnership with NTUC FairPrice towards SEC’s call for action for joint sustainable programmes," said SEC Executive Director, Ms Jen Teo.  

"The BYOB programme, which started over a decade ago, has resulted in a remarkable reduction of plastic bags use. 

"We shall be announcing many new joint programmes shortly and look forward to working closely with NTUC FairPrice to continue our efforts in 3P partnerships connecting businesses, communities, school and individuals to take action."

Source: CNA/zl(rw)