Mandatory use of environmentally friendly shopping bags in Indonesia

Jakarta, - Based on the Regulation of the Governor of Jakarta, Number 142 of 2019 concerning the obligation to use environmentally friendly shopping bags at shopping centers, supermarkets, and markets, which took effect on July 1, 2020. Although it aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste, this regulation also needs to be supported by the readiness of micro and small scale food traders in stages and the availability of alternative products to ensure policy effectiveness.

ABB 08 2020 JAK

This enforcement is also due to the increasing frequency of online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to McKinsey reports that 34% of the consumers that they surveyed were more likely to order food via online apps during the crisis. The Indonesian government together with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) recommend the Indonesian people to reduce the addition of plastic waste by implementing environmentally friendly online shopping tips. This eco-friendly way of shopping online is to simply buy or support sellers and products without plastic wrap, asking the seller to reduce plastic wrapping.

For shopping centers/malls, supermarkets and restaurants, plastic is prohibited, otherwise they will be sanctions. It takes an administrative form, the sanctions are graded from written warning, fines, then license suspension to license revocation. On the other hand, the use of other materials as an alternative to plastic is still rare because of the high price and difficult to get. Plastic alternatives, such as shopping bags made of cassava and seaweed, are still expensive due to technology costs, expensive raw materials and complicated production processes compared to conventional plastics. Higher prices lead to lower demand, especially from food traders. In addition, these plastic alternatives have not been widely sold so that their use is dominated by medium and large scale businesses.

According to the Head of Research Center for Indonesia Policy Studies (CIPS), Felippa Amanta, the government needs to consider giving incentives to the private sector to innovate in finding substitute materials for plastic bags for the delivery of processed food. The private sector's efforts to provide reusable airtight bags for online food delivery drivers / couriers are still limited. The disposable bag alternative is indeed more expensive, therefore the central and local governments must provide incentives to the private sector, including MSMEs, to encourage sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging.