Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

July 5, 2008


Co-op at Japan's Mie University Sees Dramatic Drop in Use of Plastic Bags by Charging Fees

Keywords: Climate Change Policy / Systems Reduce / Reuse / Recycle University / Research institute 

The number of plastic shopping bags used annually at the Mie University Co-op is on track to being reduced by a remarkable 95 percent, the university's Student Committee of the Environmental Management Office reports. The reason: in January 2008 the co-op started charging shoppers five yen (about 5.1 U.S. cents) for each plastic bag.

According to a survey conducted at the end of June 2007, some 200,000 plastic shopping bags were being handed out at the co-op annually. That number, however, is estimated to have decreased to 9,320, based on the results of a survey in January 2008. The amount saved in a year was calculated to be equivalent to about 3,500 liters of oil, or nine tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Prior to implementing the charge for plastic bags, the committee organized a design contest for environmentally friendly reusable bags. After awarding the best designs through voting by co-op members, the committee had reusable shopping bags manufactured and then distributed one to each student and staff member of the university in December 2007. These efforts raised awareness of the impact of plastic shopping bags among shoppers and contributed to reducing their use. The committee plans to continue encouraging shoppers to use reusable bags and will conduct follow-up surveys to monitor the use of plastic shopping bags.
- "No Plastic Bag Day" on the 5th of Every Month (Related JFS article)
- Convenience Stores to Cut Plastic Bag Use by 35% by 2010 (Related JFS article)
- Local Gov't, Supermarket Agree on Plastic Bag Reduction (Related JFS article)
- Kobe City, Co-op Cooperate to Reduce Plastic Bag Use (Related JFS article)
- Supermarket Aeon Starts Charging for Plastic Shopping Bags in Kyoto (Related JFS article)
- Seiyu Refunds 2 Yen to Shoppers Using their Own Bag (Related JFS article)
- 60% of Shoppers Carry Own Shopping Bags, 12% Always Decline Free Plastic Bags (Related JFS article)
- Over 2 Million People Say No to Plastic Bags (Related JFS article)
- Stores in Nagoya City Start Charging for Plastic Shopping Bags (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2008/07/05 04:18:00 PM