Liberty Two Degrees, with malls catering to 20 million shoppers a year, announced it will incrementally eliminate the use of plastic bags, while a number of big retailers have their own plans to make a significant difference in the next year or two.
Last week we reported on the drive by Woolworths, which now includes adding the Moreleta Village store in Pretoria east, to roll-out stores which do not offer single-use plastic shopping bags at all. In the place of these, customers are encouraged to bring or buy reusable shopping bags, the fabric of which is made from recycled bottles and which are themselves recyclable.
Woolworths hopes by 2020 to have weaned its shoppers off plastic bags, and Pick n Pay is on a similar path, with a R5 reusable budget bag and a netted bag for fruit and veg on trial in certain stores.
Already a number of restaurant owners - such as Famous Brands - have adopted the international call to ban plastic straws, with more expected to follow as awareness grows of the harm plastic causes the environment and animals - especially marine animals, and along with plastic bags and straws will come plastic bottles, balloons, plastic cutlery and packaging used once and then thrown away.