File image: IOL.
CAPE TOWN - Pick n Pay, in an effort to move away from single-use plastic carrier bags, has piloted a compostable bag at its V&A Waterfront store, which will determine further industry discussions on alternatives to plastic bags. 

Pick n Pay became the first South African retailer to trial compostable bags as an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bags during a one-day only trial at its V&A Waterfront store in Cape Town yesterday. 

The customer trial replaced all plastic carrier bags, barrier bags and fruit and vegetable bags with compostable bags which were given to customers free yesterday. 

Cardboard boxes were also piloted with customers, at a cost of R5 a box, as another alternative to plastic carrier bags. Pick n Pay chairperson Gareth Ackerman said that while much progress had been made since 2003 to encourage customers to move away from single-use plastic carrier bags, much more still needed to be done. Suzanne Ackerman-Berman said the new bags would break down after three to six months, depending on the composting system, as opposed to the reported 500 to 1 000 years for plastic bags. 

Last month, the retailer committed to remove all plastic straws from checkouts and make only paper straws available at their cold-drink kiosks, while store branded earbuds with paper inners would also be introduced.