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Pick n Pay announces plans to ditch wasteful plastics – here’s what is changing

| Going green

In celebration of World Oceans Day on 8 June, Pick n Pay has announced a set of focused initiatives to reduce plastic waste.

This follows a commitment made by chairman Gareth Ackerman in April to put programmes in place to reduce the use of plastic in-store that is not recycled or recyclable, the retailer said in a statement.

“Everyone has an important part to play in reducing plastic waste. We want to make it possible for our customers to help in this effort, and we’re giving them more choices in our stores to do just that,” said Paula Disberry, retail executive for commercial and marketing at Pick n Pay.

According to Disberry, the company will initially target five areas in the short term, with a wider set of targets and commitments to follow. These include:

1. 100% recyclable plastic bags introduced

Pick n Pay will start introducing 100% recyclable plastic bags, manufactured from recycled plastic and with no added calcium, in stores from August 2018. In addition, an even broader range of reusable bags at affordable prices will be made available to help customers move away from single-use bags.

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

Plastic straws will no longer be provided at checkouts. These will be replaced with paper straws which will only be available at the cold drink kiosks.

3. Alternatives to everyday plastic disposable items

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

4. Reduced packaging impacts

Pick n Pay has introduced recycled PET (RPET) in a range of its own products. The plastic punnets used in the packaging of their fresh fruit and vegetables contains a minimum of 25 % RPET. The use of RPET will be rolled out to more categories, such as the PnP and No Name carbonated soft drink bottles – these will include a minimum of 20% RPET. PnP’s Dishwashing Liquids and All Purpose Cleaners will include a minimum of 25% recycled material.

5. Free plastic collection from online customer homes

Pick n Pay has had in-store recycling bins for plastic bags available at all their stores for several years. The company will now increase customers’ ability to recycle by offering free plastic collection from online customers’ homes.

On Tuesday Woolworth announced that it plans to be the first retailer in South Africa to contribute zero packaging waste.

The retailer said it aims to have none of its packaging end up in landfills, which will require the introduction of 100% recyclable materials and a supportive recycling infrastructure.

This will include the phasing out of unnecessary single-use plastics, and the commitment for all its packaging to be either reusable or recyclable by 2022.

Woolworths is committed to phasing out single-use plastic shopping bags completely by 2020, it said.

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