Pick n Pay promotes plastic awareness

02 August 2019 | Local News

Pick n Pay Namibia customers have helped the company raise close to N$174 000 from the sale of plastic bags between 1 June and 26 July. The money is being funnelled towards environmental awareness campaigns at schools.

The retailer's managing director, Graeme Mouton, in a recent response to Job Amupanda, said the decision to charge 50 cents for each plastic shopping bag was not to make profit, but to create awareness about the environmental hazards posed by single-use plastics.

He said the seven cents left over after paying the supplier its 43 cents goes towards the Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF), which will channel all the funds towards environmental awareness campaigns at primary schools.

“Our aim was never to make a profit from selling the bags to our customers, but rather to create awareness of the negative impact of plastic materials on our environment.”

Moreover, the bags now being sold are “much stronger than the bags we used to give our customers freely, making them more reusable,” he said.

Mouton was responding to concerns raised by Amupanda about how the money will be used by the RNF and individuals associated with the non-profit organisation.

The money generated since June amounts to N$173 034.68, which will be handed over to the RNF this month, Mouton said.

“It is worth noting that none of the money that Pick n Pay contributes to RNF will be used to finance RNF's operational expenses,” he stressed.

Mouton noted that the RNF was selected as Pick n Pay's partner because of their longstanding relationship with the organisation for environmental projects. He stressed that the retailer has a rigorous process of selecting institutions they support through their corporate social responsibility drives.

The managing director pointed out further that for years customers received shopping bags at no cost, “but at a cost to the company and, most importantly, at a cost to the environment.”

He added that as “is human nature, we don't seem to re-think our behaviour until we are asked to pay for something we took for granted for years. Having said that, we as Pick n Pay Namibia have been transparent with our charges.”

Mouton underlined that apart from the retailer not profiting from the sale of plastic gags, the income generated also does not yet form part of the proposed government levy on plastic bags.

He added that the government had approved the sale of plastic bags by retailers while it finalised the gazetting of the levy.

He added that Pick n Pay welcomed the government's decision to impose a levy on plastic bags. Once the levy was gazetted, Pick n Pay was more than willing to channel the funds to the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) or any other body deemed fit by the government.

JANA-MARI SMITH