Reducing Waste: 63% consumers ok with retailers/traders charging for carry bags so BYOB (Bring your own Bag) becomes a habit
- • Majority say they keep carry bag in their vehicle, near home door or kitchen to remember carrying it
- • 83% say a charge for carry bag serves as a reminder for them to carry their own bag
18th October 2019, New Delhi: The Prime Minister in his Independence Day Speech on Aug 15, 2019 from the Red Fort called upon the nation to take a cloth or jute bag when going shopping and gift such bags to friends and business associates so more citizens start using them and we as a nation cut back on use of plastic and paper.
India is now rapidly working toward finding alternates to single use plastic and the single use plastic bags have almost disappeared from atleast organised retail and are getting harder to find even in unorganised retail. The retail industry has however moved from plastic to paper bags and even these if used at scale pose a risk to the environment and the forests. Most paper bags are not re-used like the high-quality plastic bags and therefore end up in waste.
To get citizens from across the country to get into the habit of using cloth and jute bags and generate less waste, LocalCircles conducted an extensive discussion on its platform followed by a survey on what would it take for the nation to move away from plastic and paper towards cloth and jute. One of the key ideas raised by the community members was retailers and traders levying a charge for all kinds of carry bags so more and more people over time get into the habit of using a re-usable cloth bag when going shopping.
The survey received more than 103,000 responses from over 70,000 unique consumers based in tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India, with 63% respondents being male and 37% being females.
69% consumers say they always carry their own bag when going shopping
People were asked if they or they staff carry a bag from their home when going shopping. 69% respondents said they always carry a bag while 25% said they carry a bag sometimes. 5% said they never carry a bag.
62% consumers keep their shopping bag in their vehicle so they remember to carry it
Those who didn’t carry their own bag, one of the top reasons highlighted by them was not remembering it. When the respondents were asked what they do to remember carrying their own bag when going shopping, 62% said they keep a bag in their vehicle that they generally take to go shopping. 13% said they keep a cloth bag near their door and 16% said they keep a cloth bag in their kitchen. 6% said they don’t remember it currently but will follow one of the above in future while 3% they don’t plan to carry cloth bags when going shopping.
83% consumers say a charge levied for paper bag serves as a reminder for them to carry their own bag
People were also asked if a charge for a paper bag when checking out at a store, serves as a reminder to carry their own bag. 83% replied in a ‘yes’ and 14% replied in a ‘no’.
The following question asked people what they do when a retailer charges them for a paper bag. 62% said they pay and try to remember to get their own bag the next time. 3% said they pay that time and every time, 7% said they somehow try to get that charge reversed while 26% buy a cloth or jute bag instead.
One of the top consumer concerns against charging for paper bags is the company branding on the paper bag. Per some consumers, it is unfair for retailers to charge for such paper bags as it acts as a marketing medium for the brands, and the cost of these bags should be absorbed by their marketing budget. They said such bags should be given free to the customers. However, most did not have any issues for being charged if the paper bag did not have any branding.
Only 7% consumers oppose when a retailer charges for a paper bag
The final question asked like the plastic bags, should the Government pass an order allowing retailers to charge for paper bags to reduce waste generation. 63% consumers voted in favour of it while only 34% voted against it.
63% consumers want Government to pass an order that permits retailers to charge for paper bags to reduce waste generation
Overall, it seems that majority of the consumers are supportive of the idea of BYOB or Bring your own Bag to reduce waste generation. However, due to practical constraints, or forgetting to carry their own bag, people end up not carrying their own bag when going out shopping. For this to become a habit, majority support that the retailers or traders be allowed to levy a charge for the paper bag. This will prevent misuse by a few and lead to more people carrying their own cloth and jute bags when going shopping.
LocalCircles has shared the results of this survey with the key stakeholders in the Government so appropriate policy changes can be made to promote BYOB i.e. Bring your own Bag