Retailers seek more details on bag levy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 May, 2011, 12:00am


Officials have been urged to clearly define what a 'retailer' is before extending the plastic shopping bag levy.

The chairwoman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, Caroline Mak Shui-king, says a clear definition is needed to avoid confusion and make sure no one inadvertently breaks the law.

'Are newspaper hawkers, clinics, banks or even travel agencies retailers? A travel agency might give bags to consumers to [carry] brochures,' she said of the plan to extend the levy from big supermarkets to all retailers.

The Environmental Protection Department estimates there are more than 60,000 retailers in the city. All will have to collect 50-cent levy under an extended scheme.

Mak said the association favoured the levy model used in Ireland, where plastic bags, with or without handles, could still be given free to contain fresh food that was already packaged in another bag.

Mak said it was unlikely the trade would continue to record the amount collected and number of bags issued if the scheme was extended to all retailers.

The association would urge retailers, if they were allowed to keep the levy under the extended scheme, to spend the proceeds on environmental education of even on environmentally friendly vehicle fleets.