Discarding plastic shopping bags usage

Supermarkets at the coast are putting their weight behind an initiative to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags.

29 April 2019 | Local News

Angela Burrell; Otto Herrigel Trust project manager; “Retailers have the right to charge for plastic bags.”

Coast / Henties Bay / Walvis Bay - Otis Finck



The project manager of the Otto Herrigel Trust, Angela Burrell, has announced that supermarkets in Henties Bay and Walvis Bay will also start charging N$1 for a plastic bag from 1 May.

Burrell said all proceeds of the sales will be given to local charities.

According to the trust, statistics revealed that once supermarkets charge a levy for plastic bags, the amount of bags can be reduced significantly.

This occurs because shoppers start understanding the value of a plastic bag and treat it as a valuable commodity rather than trash.

Burrell said the trust initiated a successful programme in December whereby supermarkets in Swakopmund introduced a voluntary charge on plastic bags.

Spar in Swakopmund was one of the shops that adopted the initiative and already donated more than N$65 000 to old age homes and Farmers Drought Relief.

Leanie and Ryno Du Preez, the owners of Superspar Swakopmund and Spar Ocean View, confirmed that the use of plastic bags saw a significant reduction since the inception of the initiative at their businesses.

“We used approximately half a ton of plastic shopping bags a month which translates into about six tons annually.”

Burrell added that retailers in Swakopmund reported figures of an up to 80% reduction on plastic bags being taken away.

The organisation recently approached supermarkets in Walvis Bay and Henties Bay to do the same in order to have continuity along the coastal area.

She encouraged all other retailers along the coast and in the whole of the country to join the initiative for the sake of Namibia’s environment.

“We hope that soon no more plastic bags will end up in the sea or fly around in the desert where they can cause problems for wildlife. Retailers have the right to charge for plastic bags without permission from any other entity. The decision to do so rests with owners.”

It is estimated that around the world, 1 trillion single-use plastic bags are used. That amounts to 2 million bags every minute.

Throughout 2018 there has been a significant push toward banning single-use plastics.

The Namibian cabinet approved the introduction of an environmental levy on plastic carrier bags in August 2018. Cabinet also approved a ban on the import and domestic production of plastic bags that contain carbonic acid calcium salt, as well as the use of plastic bags in protected areas.

New Zealand also added its voice to those saying “no” to single-use plastics on 10 August and became the 15th country to do so. Retailers around the country were given six months to phase out the plastic bags. Failure to comply may result in fines of up to N$950 566.

Bangladesh banned single-use plastic bags in 2002.

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