Plastic Bags in Japan – マイバッグ | Eco-friendly Grocery Shopping in Japan

In the above video, Akiko-sensei explains to us the recent change in Japan’s policy regarding plastic bags. She also explains how to interact with store clerks in Japanese about the bags! This article will cover the topics in the above video: plastic bags, マイバッグ, and eco-friendly shopping in Japan.

First, watch the video above! Akiko-sensei will explain it in Japanese and we will write about it below.


Plastic Bags in Japan

On July 1, 2020, Japan began charging for plastic bags nationwide. This is an attempt by the Japanese government to discourage the use of plastics. It also aims to encourage more eco-friendly shopping behavior.

Up until now, grocery stores and convenience stores have had the freedom to distribute plastic bags for free. However, with the recent Japanese national policy change, plastic bags will be charged at all establishments.

At the minimum, a plastic bag will now cost 3¥ per purchase – and some establishments can even charge more. This means if you go to the supermarket or convenience store for groceries every single day and buy a bag, you will end up spending at least 300¥ over the course of 100 days!

レジ袋 (reji bukuro) is the Japanese word for these disposable plastic bags. It literally means “register bag”. We will discuss this further when talking about bags in Japanese at the shopping register. But first, let’s learn how you can save money and be “eco-friendly” with マイバッグ!

My Bag / マイバッグ

my bag reusable grocery bag

As Akiko-sensei explains in the video above, “My Bag” マイバッグ is exactly what it sounds like!

マイバッグ literally means “my bag”. This is the Japanese word used to refer to one’s own bag. This can be a plastic bag or a tote bag that you have brought with you. You can save money and play a part in helping out the ecosystem!

As we already pointed out, using マイバッグ will save you money in the long run.

Since this legislation was implemented, many stores and supermarkets have begun selling reusable マイバッグ for you to purchase. This also encourages consumers to buy the reusable bags instead of plastic ones. You can also check out ¥100 shops – They have a lot of cute designs for you to choose from!

Talking in Japanese at the Register

So now let’s talk about using Japanese at the register about マイバッグ.

When you get to the shopping register to check out, the clerk may ask you something along the lines of the following questions:

Okyaku sama, fukuro wa yūryō ni narimasu ga maibaggu wa omochi desu ka?
Excuse me customer, we charge a fee on plastic bags – Do you have your own bag(“my bag”)?

Okyaku sama, fukuro wa yūryō ni narimasu ga fukuro ni o ireshimasu ka?
Excusem me customer, we charge a fee on plastic bags, would you like a plastic bag?

When these questions come at you, here’s how you can respond!

If you brought your own bag:

Fukuro wa kekkō desu. Maibaggu motteimasu!
I don’t need a bag. I brought my own!

Fukuro daijōbu desu! Kore ni iremasu.
I don’t need a bag! I’ll put it in here. (indicates “my bag”)

If you need to buy a bag, you can just say:

Reji bukuro ichimai onegai shimasu.
I would like 1 plastic bag please.

That’s all for today! Are we forgetting anything?

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