Seven in ten Singaporeans have started carrying shopping bags since supermarkets began charging them
April 18th, 2024, Bhawna Singh

Seven in ten Singaporeans have started carrying shopping bags since supermarkets began charging them

On the occasion of World Earth Day, YouGov research shows the steps Singaporeans are taking to reduce the use of plastic in their daily routine

Last year, a new regulation in Singapore required supermarket operators with an annual turnover of more than S$100 million to charge customers at least S$0.05 for each disposable carrier bag.

Almost a year later data from YouGov shows that more than four in five Singaporeans say that the rule changed their usage of plastic bags - with one in eight (12%) saying it changed to a very large extent.

Seven in ten residents claim they have started carrying their own shopping bags post this rule was implemented in supermarkets (69%). One in eight however end up paying extra for disposable carrier bags (13%). A small proportion (6%) say they have started shopping online instead while one in ten (11%) report not experiencing any changes to their shopping behaviour.

Baby boomers are more likely to carry their own shopping bags while the younger consumers- GenZ and millennials- are more likely than others to pay for a bag or resort to online shopping.

Looking at increasing plastic pollution residents are taking some steps to reduce the use of plastic in their daily routine. Carrying a reusable shopping bag is the most common practice adopted by Singaporeans (70%) to cut back on plastic use in their daily life- a top action across all age groups. This is followed by using reusable containers for storage (55%) and reusing old plastic shopping bags (52%).

Reusing takeaway containers for storage (48%), avoiding plastic cutlery (45%), carrying a reusable bottle or cup (44%), reusing plastic bottles for future use (42%) and avoiding plastic straws (41%) are some of the other ways in which Singaporeans are checking their plastic usage.

Baby Boomers and GenX are more likely to take all the listed actions as compared to GenZ and millennials.

Chi Wei Teo, General Manager, YouGov Singapore, said, “It is delightful to see people embracing and making conscious efforts to re-use plastic and to show support towards initiatives limiting the use of plastic. As the data shows, the older cohort seem to be taking more responsibility in reducing plastic usage as compared to their younger counterparts. However, there needs to be greater understanding and involvement of youth to build momentum. Not just the government, but companies, brands and the general public need to create awareness on preserving the environment and adopt a greener lifestyle.”

The survey also shows that Singaporeans largely favour plastic items being banned, with the population being more likely to support than oppose a ban across all the listed products.

A ban on drinking straws, disposable coffee cups and foam egg boxes gains the highest level of support from Singaporeans, with over half of respondents supporting the ban.

Almost half proposition a ban on plastic bags in supermarkets (50%), takeaway containers (49%), coffee machine capsules and condiment sachets (47% each).

Interestingly, a ban across items on the list was supported more by Baby Boomers especially when compared to the younger generation.

Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online between April 11 and 15 2024, with a national sample of 1,033 Singaporeans, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, and location to be representative of all adults in Singapore (18 years or older) as per the latest population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.