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  5. Trial to Reduce Plastic Checkout Bags at Internal Government Stores starts

Trial to Reduce Plastic Checkout Bags at Internal Government Stores starts

Studying approaches and taking advantage of a new policy approach based on behavioral economics called "nudge."

January 27, 2020

On January 27 (Mon.), 2020, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will start a series of trial efforts for studying approaches to reducing plastic checkout bags at in-house convenience stores, respectively, taking advantage of one of the approaches based on behavioral economics, called “nudge.”* Following this, by around the end of February 2020, METI and the JPO will embark on demonstration tests for introducing fee-incurring plastic checkout bags into in-house stores, respectively.

Aiming to provide case examples to which businesses are able to refer in engaging in reducing plastic checkout bags, the ministries and office will advance these trial efforts ahead of others and will convey information on the results of the efforts.

1. Purpose

On July 1, 2020, all stores across Japan will start introduction of fee-incurring plastic checkout bags into their businesses as an effort for reducing such bags.

Prior to this introduction, for three weeks from January 27 (Mon.), 2020, METI, the JPO, MOF and MOFA will start a series of trial efforts for studying approaches to reducing plastic checkout bags at in-house convenience stores, respectively, taking advantage of one of the approaches based on behavioral economics, called “nudge.”

*Note: The term “nudge,” literally an act of pushing someone gently, is a new policy approach to providing people with a well-designed method or framework based on knowledge in behavioral science and motivating them to spontaneously choose more desirable actions.

Following these trial efforts, on February 25 (Tue.), 2020, METI and the JPO will embark on demonstration tests for introducing fee-incurring plastic checkout bags into in-house stores,  respectively.

2. Outline of the trial efforts for studying approaches to reducing plastic checkout bags

Specifically, the in-house stores participating in the trial efforts will request consumers to present to the stores an intention-indication card, i.e., asking for plastic checkout bags or not. Each participating store will provide consumers with various types of cards, e.g., those with a picture of marine litter and those with explanations for efforts for addressing plastic checkout bags in a variety of countries worldwide. Following this, the ministries and office will compare the effects brought about by the cards and study effective approaches to encouraging consumers to reduce plastic checkout bags.

List of participating stores

3. Future schedule

From January 27 (Mon.) to February 14 (Fri.), 2020: Conducting study taking advantage of the nudge approach
February 25 (Tue.), 2020, onward: Conducting demonstration tests for introducing fee-incurring plastic checkout bags

Division in Charge

Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau

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