National

Three Japanese ministries and the patent office to test ways to cut number of plastic bags at convenience stores

JIJI

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday that it will launch a trial next week at convenience stores at three government ministries and an agency to test ways to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags.

The test will be conducted for three weeks from Monday at stores in buildings of METI, the Finance Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Japan Patent Office.

The ministries and the patent office have created cards that let customers at the stores show whether they need a bag.

The test will examine which cards are the most effective at reducing the usage of plastic bags.

Customers can present the card made by the Finance Ministry if they don’t require a bag.

The convenience stores at METI, the Foreign Ministry and the patent office, on the other hand, won’t distribute plastic bags unless customers present a card saying that they need one.

The Foreign Ministry’s card mentions that regulations on plastic shopping bags have been introduced in over 60 countries.

METI’s card contains a picture of marine plastic waste in an attempt to raise public awareness about pollution.

The card made by the patent office simply says the customer needs a bag.

A METI official predicted that the Finance Ministry’s card will be the least effective in reducing plastic bag use and that METI’s will be the most effective.

From July, retailers in Japan will be obliged to charge customers for plastic shopping bags.

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