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“Plastic Bag Culture” in Hong Kong

  • Plastic bags accounts for about 7.4% out of the 10,809 tonnes waste sent to landfill each day
  • 804 tonnes of plastic bags are disposed of in Hong Kong every day
  • An average of over 23,125,876 of plastic bags are disposed of in Hong Kong every day
  • This amounts to the disposal of 3 plastic bags per person per day

Plastic bag is cheap and convenient but it is not irreplaceable. Act one step ahead and say "NO" to plastic shopping bags from now on.

* According to “Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong 2020”

Plastic Bags and the Environment


Oil Resources
  • The raw materials of plastic bags come from petroleum. To produce a plastic bag, it requires about 14ml (around 1 teaspoon) of petroleum.
  • A study shows that the world's petroleum resources will become exhausted within 40 years.
  • Wasting plastic bags is equivalent to wasting precious petroleum resources.

Global Warming
  • The process of producing plastic bags consumes large amount of electricity.
  • The electricity mainly comes from burning fossil fuels, which releases large amount of carbon dioxide and intensifies global warming.
  • Each plastic bag produced will generate 10g of carbon dioxide.

Pressure to the Environment
  • A variety of chemicals are added in producing plastic bags, including plasticisers, stabilisers and colorants.
  • The usage of high amount of chemicals will add immense pressure to the environment


Excessive Consumption
  • Plastic bags are easy and convenient to use, therefore we have been consuming more and more plastic bags. In Hong Kong, we disposed over 10,000,000 plastic bags per day.


Occupying Land Resources
  • An average of 804 tonnes of plastic bags are disposed in landfills in Hong Kong every day.
  • A plastic bag requires hundreds to thousand years to fully decompose.
  • To use landfills for disposal of plastic bags takes up a lot of landfill space, causing sites to fill up rapidly.

Air Pollution
  • Incineration of plastic bags will generate air pollutants, contributing to air pollution.

Soil and Water Pollution
  • When plastic decomposes, toxins are released and enter rivers or seep into the soil, contributing to water or soil pollution.

Endangering Animals
  • Plastic bags are "death traps" for many seabirds and sea animals
  • Birds and other sea animals may mistakenly treat floating plastic bags as food.
  • Plastic bags cannot be digested and will accumulate in the stomach of the animals, which eventually cause death to the animals.
  • A study suggests that plastic bags are found in 40% of all dead turtles.

Visual Pollution
  • According to data, around 10% of disposed plastic bags are left scattered in urban, rural or coastal areas, such as on the pavement, hanging on trees or floating on the sea. These waste plastic bags may cause hygiene problems and become an eyesore.

A little reminder:

  • Non-woven fabric bags and paper bags with plastic components will do the same harm as plastic bags.
  • A non-woven bag has 10 times more plastic content than a plastic bag of similar size!

Understanding the “Plastic Bag Charge”

The first phase of the "Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags" was launched on 7 July, 2009, but was only enforced among certain retailers. The "Full Implementation of the Plastic Shopping Bag Charging" came into effect from 1 April, 2015 and covers shopping bags of all retailers in Hong Kong that contain plastic material. Retailers will collect a charge of HK$0.5 per bag (exempted items excluded). The levy level and exemptions of the 10-year-long levy scheme would be reviewed in a timely manner, stated by the Environment Bureau in 2019.

Learn more about the "Full Implementation of the Plastic Shopping Bag Charging"

A little reminder:

  • An amount of not less than HK$0.5 shall also be charged for all non-woven bags, flat-top bags and paper bags with plastic components.

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