The Diet enacted a revised law Friday that gives the government the authority to order supermarkets and other retailers to cut their use of shopping bags if the businesses’ own efforts are deemed insufficient.
The revised Containers and Packaging Recycling Law, approved at a plenary session of the Upper House, will go into effect next April.
According to the revised law, the Environment Ministry will require supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores and other large retailers to come up with plans to reduce their use of shopping bags.
The retailers will be required to report on their progress every year and the names of companies that fall short of their targets will be disclosed to the public.
The government can also issue a business improvement order to companies that fail to meet their obligations. Retailers that do not comply with such an order will be subject to a fine of up to 500,000 yen.
The Environment Ministry expects the new regulations to cut the use of shopping bags by 10 percent.
At present, businesses including retailers and food and beverage makers pay recycling fees for packaging waste, which is collected and separated by local governments.
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