Research findingsBack

The questionnaire comprised 13 opinion questions, in which 10 were tracking questions, i.e. asked in all three surveys, while another two questions (Q11 and Q12) only in the first two stages, and Q13 in Stage 3 only. Demographics of the respondents were located at the final part of the questionnaire. Key findings are summarized below with cross reference to the frequency tables in Appendix 2.

(I) Habit of using shopping bags

The survey started with enquiring respondents, during the last month, the average number of plastic bags being taken every time they had shopped at supermarket. Results of Stages 1 and 2 showed that majority of respondents had the habit of taking plastic bags, with the proportions of 78% and 54% respectively. When it comes to Stage 3, or six months after implementation of plastic bag tax, the proportion of respondents taking plastic bags has plummeted to 15% only. Overall speaking (if to count 「0」 for those respondents who did not take plastic bags), respondents took 1.5 plastic bags on average in Stage 1, 1.0 plastic bag in Stage 2, and dropped much to 0.3 in Stage 3 (Tables 7 and 8).

How would respondents treat the plastic bags after shopping? Results of three stages showed that most respondents would 「store them, use as garbage bags」, with respective percentages of 74%, 74% and 67% claiming so in the three surveys. It was followed by 「storing and reusing them later on, like use as shopping bags」, with the proportions of 55%, 53% and 48% correspondingly. Besides, 7%, 7% and 9% of respondents would 「dispose of」 the plastic bags after shopping in the three stages correspondingly, while the proportions of respondents claiming he or she 「seldom uses plastic bag」 were 1%, 4% and 5%, showing an increase after the implementation of plastic bag tax (Table 9).

The survey continued by asking if the respondents bring with them an environmental shopping bag when going shopping. In Stage 1, 18% of respondents 「never」 did so, while the proportions of those saying 「rarely」, 「sometimes」, and 「always」 were 7%, 22% and 53% respectively. Results in Stage 2 have significant changes, for the proportions of 「never」, 「rarely」, 「sometimes」, and 「always」 were 11%, 4%, 12% and 74% respectively. Results in Stage 3 were similar to those of Stage 2, implying an increased awareness of people bringing environmental shopping bags when shopping after the implementation of plastic bag tax. Moreover, in Stage 1, respondents on average had 9 environmental shopping bags at home, and 10 in Stages 2 and 3, which showed a slight increase (Tables 10 and 11).

The survey showed that majority of respondents said that 「management office provides plastic bags」. 59%, 62% and 62% admitted so in the three stages respectively, while a respective of 26%, 20% and 21% would 「use plastic bags of supermarkets/shops」. Proportions of respondents affirmed that their household expense on buying garbage bags were 14%, 16% and 14% in the three stages. Within these respondents, the average number of plastic bags used per month was 26 to 29 (Tables 12 to 13).

In Stage 3, the survey followed by gauging respondents the number of garbage bags provided by their management office in each month. Results showed the average was 30 plastic bags (according to 485 respondents who gave an affirmative answer). Within those 629 whose 「management office had provided plastic bags」, 79% thought the number of garbage bags provided was 「suitable」, while 15% thought they were 「too many」, and 35 said 「too fews」 (Tables 14 and 15).

(II) Attitude towards plastic bag tax

Second part of the survey gauges mainly respondents』 opinions towards plastic bag tax in different stages. Before implementation, 86% admitted they would 「bring their own bag」, 10% would not. For the reasons of not bringing their own bag to shopping, the most popular answer was because they 「didn』t want to bother / inconvenient」 (62%), followed by 「easy to forget」 (18%) and 「not having a shopping habit, no need」 (13%) etc. Besides, even if the stores respondents often visit charged for each plastic bag, 81% said that it would 「not affect」 their desire to shop at these stores. On the contrary, 17% said they 「would shop less」 (Tables 16 to 18).

In Stage 2 and Stage 3, that is one month or six months after implementation of plastic bag tax, 90% of respondents in both surveys reported that they had already developed the habit of brining their own shopping bags, and 10% did not. Among those who gave a negative response, 「not having a shopping habit, no need」 was the most popular option, with 46% and 51% in the two surveys respectively. Meanwhile, if the stores respondents often visit charged for each plastic bag, more than 80% of them thought there would be 「no impacts」 on their desire to shop at these stores (85% and 86%, Tables 19 to 21).

The survey went on asking all respondents if the levy of 50 cents per plastic bag could reduce people from abusing plastic bags effectively. Results in all three stages showed that most respondents said 「Yes」, with a respective of 79%, 72% and 81% thinking so (Table 22).

On the other hand, in Stage 1 survey, 16% of respondents expected the plastic bag tax would add on to their financial burden, while 84% thought the opposite. After levying, 94% in both Stage 2 and Stage 3 reported that the plastic bag tax had not added on to their financial burden, only a very small proportion thought so (Tables 23 and 24).

Stage 1 and Stage 2 surveys tried to gauge if the respondents had known which stores had been implementing or were to implement plastic bag tax. 」PARKnSHOP」 was mostly mentioned, with 69% and 91% in Stage 1 and Stage 2 correspondingly. 」Wellcome」 came second, with 67% and 89% recognition rates respectively. Other popular answers included 「Mannings」 (Stage 1: 19%, Stage 2: 26%), 「7-11 Convenience Store」 (Stage 1: 10%, Stage 2: 21%), 「CRC Shop」 (18%, 16%), 「Watsons」 (10%, 14%), 「Circle K Convenience Store」 (3%, 7%), 「JUSCO」 (2%, 5%), etc. 26% of respondents in Stage 1 could not name any, and only 2% was the same in Stage 2 (Table 25).

The last question of the first two surveys asked all respondents, apart from supermarkets and large-scale chained stores, which type of stores they think should implement charging for plastic bags as soon as possible. Results revealed that most respondents answered 「newspaper stand」 (Stage 1: 59%, Stage 2: 57%) and 「stationary」 (Stage 1: 47%, Stage 2: 52%). Other popular answers included 「pharmacy」 (52%, 49%), 「domestic products」 (48%, 43%), 「boutique」 (46%, 43%), 「watch and jewelry」 (40%, 35%), 「grocery」 (40%, 35%), 「electric appliances」 (37%, 32%), 「restaurants」 (31%, 21%), etc. Moreover, 11% and 6% considered 「all shops」 should implement plastic bag tax as soon as possible in Stages 1 and 2 correspondingly, while a respective of 7% and 8% replied 「none」 (Table 26).

To gauge people』s responses to the further implementation of plastic bag tax to most retail shops, three new questions were added in the last survey. Results showed that 67% 「agreed」 to this suggestion, while 21% 「disagreed」, and 8% said 「half-half」. 681 respondents who 「agreed」 were further asked for the appropriate time for implementation, 67% of them considered 「year 2010 / immediate」, 14% opt 「year 2011」, 5% said 「year 2012 or after」, 2% expressed 「no need to hurry」, and 12% had no clue. Among those 216 respondents who 「disagreed」, 24% admitted they 「did not support the plastic bag tax at all」, 23% thought it was 「inconvenient to people」, 21% thought 「shops would refuse to follow / it was difficult in implementation」, 19% thought 「there were still many problems to be solved」, and 12% 「only supported implementing in some shops」 (Tables 27 to 29).


This 9-month opinion survey interviewed more than 3,000 people, asking for their opinions on plastic bag tax and corresponding behavioral changes in different stages, and thus the results are of high reference value.

Survey results clearly indicate that, before implementation of plastic bag tax and shortly after levying, many respondents would use plastic bags provided by supermarkets (78% and 54%). Nevertheless, six months after implementation, the proportion plummeted to 15% only, which reflects the high effectiveness of the levy. As for the habit of bringing their own bags to shopping, the proportion of doing so increased largely from 53% to 73% in the initial period after implementation, and to 77% later on, implying that the policy has successfully raised people』s awareness of conserving the environment, at least in the sense of using plastic bags.

In addition, people have very positive appraisal towards plastic bag tax. About 80% in all stages consider the tax could reduce people from abusing plastic bags, and majority of respondents reported that the charge did not add on to their financial burden.

In the last survey, two-third of respondents agreed the further implementation of plastic bag tax to most retail shops. As for the time of implementation, majority opted for 「year 2010 / immediate」. On the contrary, only 20% respondents showed opposition to the suggestion.