No Free Plastic Bag

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In 2011, the Penang State Government made history in its green initiatives by implementing the “No Free Plastic Bag Every Day” policy. This transformed the habits of both businesses and citizens to the point of reducing a shocking total of 33 million plastic bags since the birth of “no plastic bag” policy in 2009.

  • Penang’s No Free Plastic Bag Everyday Policy
  • Active since 1st January 2011
  • Applies to Supermarkets or Hypermarkets
  • Does NOT apply to Hawkers & Petty Traders
  • The charges for each plastic bag (20 cents) are donated to the Hardcore Poverty Fund!


Penang’s impressive move has been emulated by the Federal Government in the “No Plastic Bag Every Saturday” nationwide campaign since January 2011.


The creative 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) is promoted with innovations birthed from it. Free shopping bags made of used banners have been distributed, and some citizens even use cardboard boxes to carry groceries.

No Free Plastics Bags REGULATIONS in Penang

2009, 6 July“No Plastic Monday”– State Government in emulating 42 global cities. – Various Super/Hypermarkets that launched “No Plastic Monday.”On 21st November 2009, the Chief Minister announced that Penang had saved an estimate of 1 million plastic bags in just four months!
2010, 1 June“No Plastic Bags Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday”– State Government in making progress. – Various Super/Hypermarkets, Chains, Franchises, Professional Outlets, and Firms.Increased awareness and vigilance on steps to avoid single-use plastic bags amongst Penangites.
2011, 1 January“No Free Plastic Bag Every Day.”– State Government that made an undeniably bold move. – CIMB Foundation that approved RM 400,000 for LA21 MPSP to carry out “No Free Plastic Bags” Projects. – All Super/Hypermarkets, Pharmacies, Fast-Food Outlets, Nasi Kandar Restaurants, Petrol Stations, and Convenient Stores.An extensive network of businesses and individuals practice no plastic habits for regulatory abidance and to avoid a “20 cents fine.”


Between 2009 July – 2011 June, Penang has reduced the usage of at least 33 million plastic bags. An outstanding figure worthy of pride and applaud. Noteworthy changes include most super/hypermarkets halting plastic bag orders since mid- 2010.

No Free Plastics Bags INITIATIVES in Penang

2009, 18 FebruaryData Collection from 6 Major Super/Hypermarket GroupsState Government Without taking into account retailers, hawkers, and other businesses: – 25.2 million plastic bags distributed in 2008 alone. Meaning 2.5 million/month.
2009, 19 AprilA survey involving 1500 Interviewees for the State GovernmentD. Playground EventsOut of the 1500 interviewees: – 74.86% think that plastic bags create substantial environmental problems. – 53% believe that plastic bag usage should be government-banned. – 67% stated that they are more likely to bring shopping bags. – 33% are willing to pay for plastic bags.
2009, 19 AprilPublic Consultation – Earth Day 2009 DialogueVarious Speakers & Participants Reputable speakers included – Mr Lim Kok Boon (MPF President); – Mr Don Theseira (3Rs Community); – Dr Lee Lik Meng (USM Coordinator); and – Ms Hatijah Hashim (CAP Researcher).Participants passed a resolution to act collectively & individually & commit themselves to: – Support efforts that consciously reduce plastic bag usage, ultimately minimizing excessive use. – Promote sustainable alternatives. – Properly manage and dispose of plastic bags.