Indonesian cities now charging shoppers for plastic bags

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Supermarkets and vendors in 22 cities across Indonesia, including Jakarta, began charging customers for using plastic bags on Sunday in a bid to reduce waste, The Jakarta Globe reported.

The policy, initiated by the Ministry for the Environment and Forestry, will be on a six-month trial run before it is implemented elsewhere, minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said, adding that the cost of each plastic bag depends on the respective provincial and city governments.

Although the ministry recommended a price of no less than Rp 200, Jakarta imposed a heftier fee of Rp 5,000 (37 US cents) per bag to customers, Jakarta deputy governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat said.

The policy is imposed on all retailers, including supermarkets, stores and vendors at traditional markets.

Bandung is adopting a more conservative approach, charging customers the minimum Rp 200 per bag, mayor Ridwan Kamil said at the initiative’s launching ceremony in Jakarta. The world renowned architect said that by charging customers for plastic bags, the city will not only reduce waste but also generate revenue.

Bogor, in the outskirts of Jakarta, also demanded retailers and stores charge Rp 200 per plastic bag.