Many cities in India restrict or prohibit plastic bags completely and just allow to use biodegradable bags instead which has been fully supported by environmentalists. However, it can’t be denied the fact that not everyone benefits from this initiative. Customers are not only anxious of using plastic bags in supermarkets, stores, etc, as they have to pay a great deal of money for each plastic bag, they also often forget to bring their own bags to hold things they buy. However, we cannot deny the convenience of plastic bags (especially biodegradable bags).
According to the Ministry of Finance, many countries around the world are imposing heavy environment taxes on plastic bags, such as the UK or Ireland, with the tax of 15 cents per bag (equivalent to 4,500 VND per bag); Hong Kong $ 0.05 / bag (equivalent to 1,050 VND / bag), Estonia plans to impose tax by 2 cents per bag (equivalent to 3,000 VND / bag), in Spain 5-50 cents / bag. Others prohibit manufacturing, selling and using of thin plastic bags, such as China prohibits plastic bags with thickness less than 0.025 milliliters, or Spain bans producing bags with thick films of less than 50 microns, impose tax by 5-10 cent for biodegradable bags (this is a big barrier for biodegradable bag suppliers).
In Viet Nam, the environment tax applied to plastic bags is 40,000 VND per kilogram, equivalent to 200-400 VND per bag (each kilogram may be equivalent to 100-200 bags), but biodegradable bag suppliers don’t sell this kind of product in Viet Nam because of extremely expensive price as well as Vietnamese consumer behaviour.
The Ministry of Finance said that the tax is at a very low level compared to other countries, and has not had a major impact on the restriction of plastic bags production and use. Therefore, the ministry proposed to adjust the environment tax for plastic bags to 40,000-200,000 VND / kg (the minimum level is equal to the current tax, the maximum is four times the maximum level in the current tariff structure).
According to environmental experts, the imposition of environment tax on plastic bags at the rate of 40,000 VND / kg has not yet significantly impacted the green consumer behaviour, the consumption of plastic bags on the market accounts for 80%.
According to the Vietnam Plastics Association, since the government imposes environment tax on plastic bags, we just has about 30 new enterprises filing to be recognized as environmentally friendly bag manufacturers (surely including biodegradable bag suppliers) , accounting for 20% market share, although there are nearly 400 units of plastic bags production. The association also noted that most establishments do not participate in the production chain of biodegradable plastic bags because of their small business size and low revenue while the procedure of applying for environmentally friendly packaging certificate is not easy and very costly.