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Pick n Pay announces initiative to reduce plastic waste

The company says it will target five areas in the short term, including the introduction of 100% recycled plastic bags and the phasing out of plastic straws.

The new Pick n Pay carrier bags  will have zero added calcium and be made from 100% recycled material. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Retail giant Pick n Pay wants to slash plastic use.

To mark World Oceans Day it's announced an initiative to reduce plastic waste. The company says it will target five areas in the short term, including the introduction of 100% recycled plastic bags and the phasing out of plastic straws.

The retailer’s Suzanne Ackerman-Berman explains the bags are made of recycled plastic bottles.

“Many plastic bottles are made into a fabric and fibre by the Township Patterns Group, which is a social entrepreneurship organisation by women in the township. We just felt that we’re trying to get people to reduce their plastic usage. We understand people need bags.”

Pick n Pay says its branded earbuds will be introduced where the plastic inners will be replaced with paper. It has had in-store recycling bins for plastic bags available at all its stores for several years. The company will now increase customers’ ability to recycle by offering free plastic collection from online customers’ homes.

Paula Disberry, a retail executive at Pick n Pay, says everyone has a role to play in reducing plastic waste.

“We want to make it possible for our customers to help in this effort, and we’re giving them more choices in our stores to do just that.”

Disberry adds the environmental damage caused by the use of plastic become increasingly clear. It's been reported that by 2050, at current rates of pollution, there will likely be more plastic in the sea than fish.

“Customers can expect more initiatives and commitments to reduce our packaging in the near future. In addition to the extensive work on our own branded products, this will include partnering with key suppliers to roll-out the packaging and plastics reduction programmes they are implementing in Europe and the USA in South Africa.”

WATCH: What happens when you throw away plastic?

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)