Mandatory Charging for Plastic Shopping Bags Starts in Japan

Photo taken at a convenience store in Tokyo on July 1, 2020, shows a sign explaining charges for plastic bags. Plastic bag fees became mandatory in Japan on the same day to promote the use of eco-friendly bags and reduce plastic waste. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan started Wednesday to require convenience stores, supermarkets, drugstores and other retail outlets to charge for plastic shopping bags, in line with a global trend of reducing plastic waste to combat marine pollution.

The initiative is aimed at encouraging shoppers to bring their own bags and comes as Japan lags behind other countries in curbing the use of plastics, generating the largest amount of plastic waste per capita after the United States.

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