Monday, February 18, 2008

Why Plastic (Bag) Should Be Expensive?

After I take the photo above, I realize why in many western country plastic bag should be expensive.

If plastic bags is free (like in all supermarket at Jakarta), then there is no need for people to think further about environment. Of course, it should be not as simple as that. But, if people cares with sewage flow, they should be care with garbage and waste that they thrown away into the river or brooklet or sewer. But, people obviously ignorant. If you take a closer look at the river or brooklet or sewer, you will easily find that all them are fully covered with waste and garbage especially plastic. When you are willing to spent a bit of time to count how many plastic bag and plastic wrap (e.g. for package food products) - among any other kind of waste, then you will realize that plastic waste are more than half of total waste. The implications for this neglected situation are water flow jammed, some sort of vegetation will grown in the banks, some sort of animal (snakes, lizards, rats, etc.) also build their nest there, in the long run you will see the water level rise, water born disease exposed the population and ‘Aha!’ flood is everywhere.

Ok, enough with the fortune teller stuff. (What?! It’s not prediction, it’s already occur now!). That is where the economics incentive/disincentive works. If you agree with me that the root of problem here is plastic waste, then the simple solution is reduce the plastic waste. To reduce the plastic waste then we have to reduce plastic usage. To reduce plastic usage, it must be “expensive” enough so people will reduce their use of plastic. Low usage of plastic will lead to lower plastic waste. Lower plastic waste will make our job a lot more easier to clean up river or brooklet or sewer everywhere, especially in our neighborhood. The long run impact of such achievement will be better environment that create cleaner, healthier, and economically efficient society. I will leave you all with such a “good-to-be-true” dream.

One moment, I am hearing someone ask me a question: "how we should bring our shopping goodies?" Well, I may answer: Why don’t we start bring our own bag, and you can decide the size depending on your own need. Or, why don’t you ask for paper box? See, there are lots of option actually...

See No bag, thanks! campaign for more photos prove on plastic ‘disease’ on earth


Berly said...

Agreed. We need to internalize the externalities.

The price of plastic bag only reflect production+transportation cost but do not include disposing/recycling cost and environmental damage.

In Netherlands (and some other European countries), they put a tax in each plastic bag. It is 20 euro cent (about Rp 2700) per bag in Holland. Not too much, but enough to discourage people from overusing the bag (low price, over production).

Even without government policy we can contribute by bringing our own bag to supermarket and avoid buying drink in plastic bottle.

icha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


should someone put a 'seminar add' in a comment box? you dont put your sandals on your fridge right??

wa, clean it up. just like you clean those plastics on the drainage. people needs to learn to understand where to put what..

:) patris

Anonymous said...

In China, the government also bans the grocery mart to give free plastic bags. Customer has to pay for plastic bag.

And I know that sellers in Pasar Depok also charge price for a plastic bag as in many other "Pasar". The sellers (oligarch) policy is not a current trend. If I am not mistaken, this already happened since late 90s.

However, i love the good externality from this policy that only apply in "Pasar Depok". You don't have to worry about to bring your own bag. The seller will bring your grocery to your car. FREE of CHARGE if they know you:)

fajar said...

salam kenal