It is International Plastic Bag Free Day and many retailers have opted to show their support in various ways. This day is dedicated to showcasing ways that encourage the possibility of a world free of plastic pollution.
Spar outlets in the Western Cape and Namibia will not be selling plastic bags today, instead they will be offering a plastic bag alternative in the form of a fully recyclable free brown paper carrier bag.
As part of their Vision 2022 goals, Woolworths aim to of having their name branded plastic bags be reusable and recyclable. By 2020 Woolworths plans to have phased out non-reusable carrier bags so as to not contribute to plastic-filled landfills.
In support of IPBFD, Pick n Pay outlets launched biodegradable bags made from vegetable substances. These bags that are only available on Tuesday can be used as compost after serving their purpose as carrier bags. Depending on weather conditions, the bags decompose within three to six months as opposed to the 500 to 1000 years it takes normal plastic bags to do the same.
“This is a challenge for all of us: South African consumers are concerned about waste and are looking to all those involved for solutions. We must work together to find them,” said Pick n Pay Chairman Gareth Ackerman.
Shoprite and Food Lovers Market (FLM) have also chosen to be more environmentally friendly by reducing their plastic footprint. Shoprite only use recyclable plastic bags and, as of mid-June, FLM no longer offer plastic straws in their stores.