[Press release] Earlier this year Massy Stores throughout the region initiated a campaign to discourage the use of single use plastic bags for bagging of groceries at its checkouts, while actively encouraging customers to shop with reusable bags as a more eco-friendly option.
The company also announced that come Tuesday July 3rd (International Plastic Free Day), the Massy Stores single use plastic bag charge would take effect. St. Lucia’s charge is twenty five cents per plastic used for grocery packaging.
Plastic pollution is very real and single use plastics have a large impact. In fact plastics take as many as 1000 years to decompose.
When plastics are sent to the landfills they aren’t harmless. They just break up into micro plastics which do not deteriorate in the environment but disintegrate into micro-plastics which cannot be treated. Micro-plastics make it to the marine environment and are ingested by fish. This can kill marine life or make its way back to humans when eaten and cause harm to human health. Also plastics can end up in drains and contribute to the blockage of drains facilitating localized flooding especially where there are constrictions or screens in drains.
Apart from increased public awareness on the adverse effects of single use plastic, there have been various specials, promotions and give a ways of Massy reusable bags to help customers prepare for the change. Here in St. Lucia, 18,500 Massy reusable bags were distributed to customers as part of a free bag promotion over the last two Tuesdays.
The strategy to reduce plastic waste is part of the Massy Stores broader commitment to becoming more environmentally sensitive throughout its operations and finding ways of operating more sustainably throughout the region. This is a phased and gradual strategy which includes a review of all Massy Stores operational practises as well as discussions with suppliers, manufacturers, policy makers, environmental groups and customers.
While acknowledging that businesses have a responsibility to manage plastic waste to minimise adverse impacts of their operations on the environment, we recognise the importance of policy shifts through legislation as a critical component to catalyse much needed change where this is concerned.
Massy Stores is encouraging organisations with a core environmental mandate to accelerate their programmes to help customers with this important transition. Further and to support such efforts, proceeds from the plastic bag charge will be placed into an Environmental Fund to help with environmental awareness, recycling, waste collection and repurposing projects.
The Solid Waste Management Authority has advised that a shift from waste disposal to waste reduction in homes/schools/work/businesses etc. is important if we are to minimize the quantity of waste reaching our landfills which based on design specification will be at capacity in a few years. Waste reduction which includes prevention and recycling facilitates better management of waste.
Our immediate focus is on encouraging customers to bring reusable bags to shop, with the intention to phase out the demand for plastic bags as the reusable bag habit starts to take root. We are confident that this strategy can work based on results in other countries where this has been done. The implementation of a fee on single use plastic shopping bags has produced incredibly impactful results globally.
See link below.