Connect with us


Phuket Bag Plague: carrot or stick?

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: What works best, the carrot or the stick?

It’s an age-old question, and one brought to the fore here in Phuket with the launch this week of the Tesco Lotus ‘Green Bag Green Point’ scheme. [See details, current issue of the Phuket Gazette. Digital subscribers click here.]

Lotus will reward shoppers who reuse bags – instead of using new plastic ones – with points exchangeable for store coupons.

So it’s clear what Lotus thinks: dangling the carrot of cash in front of Phuket’s plastic-addicted hundreds of thousands is the best way to make them kick the habit.

What this means for ‘Phuket No Shopping Bag’, the stalled island-wide plastic bag charging scheme, is as yet unclear.

The Gazette has already made its support for bag charging – the ‘stick’ option – very clear.

We believe the project must go ahead, if only to raise awareness of the need for Phuket to live more sustainably.

And plastic bag charges have succeeded where they have been implemented. UK retailer Marks and Spencer said bag use at its stores fell 80 percent within one year of introducing a charge.

Nevertheless, the Tesco Lotus ‘carrot’ approach has its merits.

Charging for bags opens retailers to the accusation that they are profiteering on environmental concerns. Some consumers ask why they should put money into retailers’ coffers for something they used to get for free.

The Lotus incentive scheme will more easily confound the cynics, even if the company is paying customers just one satang per reused plastic bag.

And the retailer says incentive schemes have worked in other countries. In the UK, “the vast majority” of Tesco Lotus’s customers now reuse their plastic bags, according to a spokesman.

We hope the scheme has the same effect in Phuket and the rest of Thailand.

But where does this leave ‘Phuket No Shopping Bag’?

A loyalty card scheme of the type lotus has instigated cannot be copied by all. The beauty of the island-wide bag charging scheme lies in its simplicity. Any retailer – from Central and Jungceylon, down to the smallest mom and pop store – can join in.

There is understandable reluctance among retailers who have already signed the MoU to go ahead with bag charging while major competitors hold out.

But the Lotus offer of incentives to consumers who use their own bags does not preclude the company from charging for bags, too.

Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop is writing to the chain’s head office in Bangkok to request that it do so. The Gazette sincerely hopes that Gov Wichai’s pleas are answered.

Tesco Lotus has chosen the carrot. But that does not mean it can’t also wield the stick.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand15 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Phuket resort land encroachment case; OnlyFans arrest calls for reform| Sep 27

Thailand16 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 10,288 new cases; provincial totals

Guides16 hours ago

Local resturants you can’t miss when travelling to Ayutthaya

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Thailand reduces quarantine to 7 days for fully vaccinated arrivals from October

World18 hours ago

Australian official suggests borders may re-open by Christmas

Thailand18 hours ago

Gilligan’s Island, Farangs, Grammar and Onlyfans | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 26

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Guides18 hours ago

Travel hacks for a stress-free holiday in Thailand

Thailand18 hours ago

Consumer complaints hotline targets rip-off shopkeepers

Thailand18 hours ago

Phuket Car rental business says gang rented cars and then sold them off

Guides18 hours ago

A guide to Doi Inthanon National Park

Bangkok18 hours ago

Curfew shortened, Bangkok spas, gyms, cinemas can re-open from October

Tourism19 hours ago

TAT pushes for Indonesia, Malaysia to be added to approved list for Phuket sandbox

World19 hours ago

Powerful earthquake strikes near the Phillippines main island

Guides19 hours ago

Top business and investment opportunities in Thailand

Thailand20 hours ago

OnlyFans arrest sparks calls for reform of prostitution and pornography laws

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11