Consumers have become increasingly concerned about plastic waste.
But if we are to experience a real shift in behaviour and make a sustainable long-term impact in our environment, we need to reinforce the message of reduce, reuse and recycle.
This is according to Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Pick n Pay’s director for transformation, who provided an update on the retailer’s plastic waste reduction initiatives at an event in Cape Town on Thursday (1 November).
In June, Pick n Pay announced a set of focused initiatives to reduce plastic waste and remains as committed to leading change in plastic usage and possible alternatives by actively working with its partners and suppliers.
According to Ackerman-Berman, some of the initiatives include:
- The retailer has started phasing out plastic straws with paper straws and this is expected to be completed by the end of December.
- Pick n Pay earbuds with paper inners have also been introduced in-store.
- The retailer recently introduced new blue recyclable plastic carrier bag made from 100% recycled material into all stores nationally.
- Pick n Pay also introduced a unique range of new 100% RPET reusable bags, in addition to the Township Group Bottle Bag.
Reverse vending machines
As part of the intiative Pick n Pay, in partnership with the V&A Waterfront, has also launched two reverse vending machines whereby customers will be rewarded for recycling any recyclable waste product with a relevant barcode.
Customers who recycle more than three times in a month will be entered into a monthly draw and 50 customers will receive a free reusable RPET Pick n Pay bag.
Each week one customer will also win a R200 Pick n Pay Waterfront gift card for using the machine. At the end of the campaign, the customer who recycled the most will win a R5,000 gift card.
The company also undertook a unique one-day, one-store pilot project to raise awareness and see how customers responded to compostable bags and cardboard boxes as an alternative to plastic bags.
“As there are no integrated large-scale composting facilities available in South Africa, rolling out a compostable bag project on a large scale isn’t yet feasible in South Africa, said Ackerman-Berman.
“But, we have extended the pilot on the cardboard box to six stores in the Western Cape and the uptake has been very positive. Later this year, we will also trial paper bags in select stores.”
“While it isn’t possible to change behaviour overnight, we will continue to work with our customers to introduce alternative options and measure our efforts so that we can drive feasible options that will drive real, long-term sustainable change both for our environment and our customers,” said Ackerman-Berman.