RT-Mart to stop sale of plastic shopping bags, starting July 1

Taipei--Hypermarket chain RT-Mart announced on Wednesday that as part of efforts to promote environmental protection, beginning on July 1, it will stop selling plastic shopping bags at its 22 stores around Taiwan.

It is estimated that the policy will prevent 7.3 million plastic bags from reaching the market each year, reducing carbon emissions by the equivalent of planting 34,000 trees a year, RT-Mart said.

In terms of carbon emissions reduction that is higher than the offset achieved by Da'an Forest Park in Taipei in one year, the company noted.

Kuo Chien-chi (???), a publicist for the hypermarket chain, said the company calculated that people in Taiwan use and dispose of 18 billion plastic bags a year.

Although for most consumers purchasing a plastic bag for NT$2 (US$0.066or NT$3 is a daily occurrence, disposing of such bags inappropriately can cause great harm to the environment and even the ocean, Kuo said.

With that in mind, RT-Mart has decided to stop stocking its stores with plastic bags effective immediately and as of July 1 such bags will no longer be sold at cashier counters.

For the moment, plastic bags will still be available but cashiers will not take the initiative in selling them. Instead, they will explain the new policy to customers, Kuo said.

Consumers will be advised to purchase environment-friendly shopping bags if they need a bag, he added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel