Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department says starting from May 1, it has stopped giving verbal warnings to retailers who do not comply with the legal requirements of plastic shopping bag charging.
The EPD says retail outlets must fully comply with the legal requirements of plastic shopping bag charging. Starting from May 1, immediate enforcement action will be taken should any contraventions be found. Retailers contravening the requirements are liable to a fixed penalty of HKD2,000 or even prosecution proceedings.
Under the Product Eco-responsibility (Amendment) Ordinance 2014, which became effective on April 1, 2015, all retailers in Hong Kong, irrespective of size of operation and business nature, have to charge customers not less than 50 cents for each plastic shopping bag provided for the retail sale of goods, except for situations where there is an exemption. The plastic shopping bag charge is retained by the shops.
Plastic shopping bags used for food hygiene reasons, such as for containing a food item which is unpackaged or contained in non-airtight packaging or in chilled state, can be exempted from the plastic shopping bag charge. Plastic shopping bags used for the pre-packaging of goods are also exempted, while bags provided with services fall outside the scope of regulation.