Implementation of enhanced Plastic Shopping Bag Charging Scheme in first month


8th February 2023 – (Hong Kong) A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said today that since the implementation of the enhanced Plastic Shopping Bag Charging Scheme (the Enhanced Scheme) on 31st December last year, the department had continued to step up publicity work and conducted a preliminary review of the implementation of the Enhanced Scheme.

On publicity, the EPD has organised briefing sessions for the trade, launched a six-month TV and radio Announcement in the Public Interest, and produced posters, leaflets, advertisements on public transport, online advertisements and so on. In addition, it deployed staff to visit about 11,000 retail outlets (including about 7,300 public market stalls) in the territory to publicise and introduce the enhancement measures to retailers. The EPD also set up a dedicated webpage ( to provide information on the Enhanced Scheme to the retail trade and the public.

The EPD recently inspected about 650 supermarkets or food stores in the 18 districts of Hong Kong and observed that the implementation of the Enhanced Scheme was generally smooth. Key observations include:

  • Over 90 per cent of the stores have posted posters to remind customers of the measures under the Enhanced Scheme;
  • Over 99 per cent of the stores do not provide flat-top bags at the places where they sell fruits and vegetables or chilled/frozen foodstuff items for customers to take. For the remaining few stores that allow customers to pick up flat-top bags, most of them have reminders on the charge of the flat-top bag and circumstances exempted from the charge;
  • When customers purchased packaged frozen/chilled foodstuff items, cashiers did not proactively provide flat-top bags, and only about 12 per cent of such customers said that they needed flat-top bags;
  • Although individual customers still requested free plastic bags when they purchased packaged frozen/chilled foodstuff items or loosely packed but individually wrapped products, most of them would either pay for the plastic bags or decide not to take them after the retailers’ explanation; and
  • 85 per cent of customers brought their own shopping bags or took away products with bare hands.

The spokesman said, “In the first month after the commencement of the Enhanced Scheme, the EPD would first give verbal warnings to retailers who contravened the enhancement measures. As at 31st January, 2023, our staff inspected about 1,800 retail outlets and issued seven verbal warnings without issuing any fixed penalty notices. The EPD reminded retailers that the one-month adaptation period of the enhancement measures ended on 30th January and enforcement action will be taken against non-compliant retailers.

 “Noting that some retailers, especially the small retail outlets and market stallholders, expressed that they did not fully understand some of the enhancement measures during the adaptation period of the Enhanced Scheme, the EPD will deploy staff again to approach these retailers this month to further explain the enhancement measures.”