ParknShop yesterday launched a campaign it said could save 12 million plastic bags a year. The supermarket chain began its Earth Baby campaign a day after the financial secretary said a tax on plastic bags would be introduced in the long term if voluntary measures failed to reduce their use. The three-month campaign includes the sale of environmentally friendly shopping bags made of non-woven fabrics and programmes aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags. It follows a similar four-month effort last year that the chain says cut use of the bags by 6 million. ParknShop managing director Philippe Giard said the company had no opinion on the proposed measure announced in Wednesday's budget until it had more information. 'It's a question of how to change people's minds and habits,' he said. Deputy director of environmental protection, Raymond Fan Wai-ming, said the government would conduct extensive consultations with businesses and the public, and propose a scheme to the legislature by the end of the year. 'Green groups often say the government is too slow - now is the right time to [act],' Mr Fan said. He said the amount of tax imposed on plastic bag use could be negotiated, but the purpose was to remind people to protect the environment. Green groups estimate each Hong Kong resident uses an average of 1,300 plastic bags a year - a total of 24 million bags a day, or about 9 billion a year. Friends of the Earth said ParknShop's target on plastic bag reduction was unacceptable and the chain was trying to avoid its social responsibility.