Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: Andre Nel with The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: Andre Nel with The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group reusable bags. (Supplied).
Picture: The Township Group reusable bags. (Supplied).

CAPE TOWN - Retailer Pick n Pay has launched a plastic reducing initiative in partnership with The Township Group who has been supplying the retailer with reusable plastic since 2009. 

In light of Pick n Pay Chairman Gareth Ackerman’s commitment in April this year to implement plastic reducing programmes, Pick n Pay has now officially launched the new drive. 

“As a leading retailer, we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and encouraging our suppliers and others to do so as well. Our approach focuses on improving energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint, reducing the amount of waste we produce, reusing/recycling as much waste as possible, and being water-wise”, said General Manager Sustainability at Pick n Pay, Andre Nel. 

This drive will see Pick n Pay targeting five goals in the short term which are as follows:

1. 100% recyclable plastic bags introduced

Starting in August this year, Pick n Pay will introduce 100% recyclable plastic bags, manufactured from recycled plastic and with no added calcium,

2.  Plastic straws to be phased out in favour of paper straws

Plastic straws at checkouts will be replaced with paper straws which will only be available at cold drink kiosks. 

3.  Alternatives to everyday plastic disposable items

Pick n Pay will introduce branded earbuds where the plastic inners will be replaced with paper.

4.  Reduced packaging impacts

Pick n Pay has also introduced recycled PET (RPET) in a range of its own products. 

5.  Free plastic collection from online customer homes

Pick n Pay will now offer free plastic collection to their online customers. 

Notably, Pick n Pay’s reusable plastic bags which has been in store nationwide has been supplied by a female-owned cooperative operating in the Western Cape, The Township Group since 2009. 

The Township Group which employs more than 70 women has supplied Pick n Pay with more than 600 000 reusable bags. In partnership withThe Township Group, Pick n Pay in 2017 launched the 100% RPET bag, manufactured from material made from recycled plastic bottles.

The group focuses on three training initiatives which include:

(1) technical sewing skills to be able to make simple to complex bags and fashion accessories

(2) business skills necessary to manage a cooperative (financial management, conflict resolution, fair trade principles)

(3) personal development skills – personal financial management, IT skills, English as a second language and creativity.

All of their materials are also sourced within the SADEC region. The cotton is sourced from Zimbabwe and Madagascar and the recycled PET from a South African supplier. The Group also has access to a range of local suppliers from the textile industry (printers, trimmings suppliers) in Cape Town and KZN.

“While we’ve seen success in the promotion of our reusable bags, it was clear we needed to counter the environmental damage from the non-recycling of plastic bags. Pick n Pay’s new 100% recycled plastic bag (which will be introduced into all stores from August 2018) will have carrier bags will have zero added calcium and be made from 100% recycled material – 60% from post-consumer waste (which includes recyclable customer plastic that has been collected and sent to recycling plants), and 40% from factory/manufacturing waste (from factory plastic bag cut offs generated during the making of plastic bags)”, concluded Nel.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE