OUT OF THE BOX: Pick n Pay V&A Waterfont supervisor Ruwayda Kenyon, 
the retailer’s director for transformation Suzanne Ackerman-Berman and its chairperson Gareth Ackerman at Tuesday’s launch. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA.
Cape Town - To mark World Plastic Free Bag Day, Pick n Pay on Tuesday launched its plastic-free initiative at its flagship store in Cape Town with the support of the V&A Waterfront. The retailer aims to help prevent single-use plastic waste.

The trial saw all plastic carriers, barrier bags and fruit and vegetable bags replaced by compostable bags made from starches, cellulose, vegetable oils and combinations thereof. The “not made from plastic” bags were given to customers free. The use of cardboard boxes was also piloted - at R5 a box - as an alternative.

Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, director of transformation, expressed delight at the company’s progressive attitude towards plastic waste and the positive implications of initiating change at the company’s flagship store.

“We still have lots of plastic packaging throughout our store, but it’s these seemingly small changes which make a major difference to our environment. It’s not possible to remove plastic entirely at this point, but we’re moving in the right direction and we hope others follow suit.”

This biodegradable alternative has a similar production cost. However, the technology required has only recently become available in South Africa, and the chain was quick to react to the innovation.

The Pick n Pay scheme is one of many initiatives happening across the Waterfront during the week. Inside Victoria Wharf’s centre court, recycled plastic was used to produce a large skeleton of a whale, highlighting the damage plastics cause in the oceans and to marine life. 

Until Monday, July 9, there will be two containers where shoppers can exchange their plastic bags for a reusable V&A Waterfront bag.

V&A Waterfront executive for operations Andre Theys said as Africa’s most visited destination, he hoped to leverage the V&A Watefront’s status to bring about meaningful and lasting behaviour changes among businesses and customers.

“It’s our mission in the next two to three years to get rid of single-use plastic,” he said.

[email protected]

Cape Argus