Customers at Shoprite and Checkers stores will now be rewarded for purchasing and using recyclable grocery bags. Called ‘planet bags’, the Shoprite Group has introduced these 100% recyclable plastic shopping bags in all its stores at a cost of R3 per bag. Whenever a customer re-uses their planet bag, they will get 50c off their total purchase.
This means that after six shops, the planet bags will have paid for themselves. The bags are bigger and stronger than normal plastic grocery packets. They are made entirely from recycled plastic and are 70 microns thick, compared to the 24 microns of a standard grocery bag, making the planet bags more durable.
Shoprite Group tackles consumer behaviour with grocery bags
It is believed that over two million plastic grocery bags are discarded every minute around the world. Only five percent of people actually reuse their grocery bags, which means that the Shoprite Group needs to change the consumer behaviour of a significant proportion of society.
However, the planet bag campaign may be able to do this by rewarding customers for reusing grocery bags and minimising their waste. The Shoprite Group is trying to reduce its own plastic waste and was the first retailer in South Africa to introduce recycled grocery bags in its stores in 2013.
In the past year alone, the Shoprite Group sold 700 million grocery bags that were made from 100% recycled material. This means that 7000 tonnes of plastic was diverted from landfill and reintroduced to the market.
Shoprite aims for zero-waste-to-landfill
The group of retailers has adopted a zero-waste-to-landfill approach to its operations. This includes recycling as much plastic, paper and cardboard as possible. Their water and carbonated drinks (Zip Cola) bottles are made from 25% recycled plastic.
The Shoprite Group uses recycled materials for up to 60% of its fruit and vegetable packaging, such as punnets, trays, bags and cartons. The packaging for their avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, gem squash and baby marrows are also fully biodegradable and compostable.
These steps and initiatives divert plastic waste from landfill and reintroduce it as valuable products to the marketplace.
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