Jeffreys Bay Super Spar and Hankey Spar, in conjunction with Spar Eastern Cape, declared war on plastic bags – a first for the region.
In a move, which has been hailed by environmental groups as a major development, the SPAR EC team launched an initiative on April 6 to urge their customers to consider alternative packaging options – and in doing so, spearhead a significant step forward in the battle to protect the environment – and keep Jeffreys Bay and Hankey clean.
With hundreds of millions of shopping bags in circulation, SPAR EC Managing Director Conrad Isaac said they could no longer ignore their accountability in what was becoming an increasingly harmful situation in the world.
“We believe that safeguarding our environment and the future are often spoken about, but not much is done,” he said.
“As the biggest food retailer in the Eastern Cape, Spar believes we have to take care of the health and well-being of the communities in which we operate.”
He said it had reached a situation where something tangible had to be done.
“If we carry on in this way and don’t do something about the mess we are creating it can only lead to the eventual destruction of our environment.
“So the dream is to clean up the place and to work towards creating a healthy and fresh environment in which we can live.”
Facing a massive challenge to change the consumer’s mind-set, SPAR EC launched their campaign with a drive on April 6 and 7 to encourage shoppers to swop plastic bags for paper bags.
Over these two days, members of the public were given a paper bag free of charge for every 10 plastic shopping bags brought to any one of SPAR’s Eastern Cape outlets.
These are wax-lined, waterproof reusable bags, capable of carrying 12kg. The bags are degradable and can be recycled.
According to Jeffreys Bay Super Spar Manager Pierre Venter, the response from customers was overwhelming. “Upon opening the shop Friday morning, a customer was already waiting for us with six bags full of old plastic bags,” says Venter.
“Customers can still bring us their plastic bags. These bags will be sent to our distribution centre, who in turn will recycle the plastic bags.”
Isaac said they understood old habits would be hard to change.
“But we are inviting our consumers to join us in solving what is a very real problem in our society.
“To those consumers who have a concern and appreciate the enormity of the problem, we will be offering alternative options of shopping bags in all our stores.”
He added that he foresaw the campaign evolving into a far bigger project than just plastic bags, one that would eventually incorporate the collection and recycling of all plastic.
“For now we are focusing on plastic shopping bags, but if we can change the habits of the communities over time we will be contributing to a cause with real benefits for our society.”
Source: Kouga Express