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Shoprite and Checkers will now ‘pay’ customers to use their new recyclable shopping bags

| Innovation and technology

The Shoprite Group has announced that it will now be rewarding customers for using their newly introduced ‘planet’ bags in both Shoprite and Checkers stores.

The 100% recyclable plastic ‘planet’ bags retail for R3 each, but every time a customer re-uses the bag they will receive 50 cents off their grocery purchase, the group said.

Shoprite said that these bags are bigger and stronger than traditional shopping bags, and are 70 microns (compared to the 24 microns for standard 24ℓ plastic bags) meaning they will last for many shopping trips.

“Changing consumer behaviour by rewarding customers for re-using bags is a critical part of the retailer’s efforts to reduce plastic waste,” the group said.

“In 2013 the Shoprite Group became the first South African retailer to introduce recycled and recyclable plastic shopping bags in its Checkers stores. Today these are available at all Checkers, Shoprite and Usave stores nationally.”

The group also noted that packaging of all broccoli, cauliflower, mixed cauliflower/broccoli, baby marrows, patty pans, baby gems, squash variety and fruit packs will switch to fully biodegradable and compostable containers from early November.

This will reduce the retailer’s use of foam punnets by 3.5 million punnets per annum, it said.

The group said that it now used recyclable material in almost 60% of the packaging used for fruit and vegetables including punnets, trays, bags, pockets and cartons.

The announcement from Shoprite follows a massive drive among South African retailers to cut down on waste and increase recycling.

Both Woolworths and Pick n Pay have announced similar initiatives in recent months, with Woolworths announcing that it will stop the sale of plastic straws (among other initiatives) while Pick n Pay has begun manufacturing and selling compost made from its food wastage.

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