South Africa

Pick n Pay trials new eco-friendly bags and boxes

Pick n Pay had a one-day trial –on 3 July at its V&A Waterfront store– to gauge customer reaction to compostable bags and cardboard boxes as an environmentally friendly alternative to its current plastic offering. The trial will inform further industry discussions on alternatives to plastic bags, the retailer said.

The customer trial replaced all plastic carrier bags, barrier bags and fruit and vegetable bags with compostable bags made from starches, cellulose, vegetable oils and combinations of these. The ‘not made from plastic’ carrier bags were given free to customers on the day. Cardboard boxes were also piloted with customers as another alternative to plastic carrier bags.

Pick n Pay’s director for transformation, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, said that the piloted bags are strong and can be reused – similar to normal plastic bags: “The important difference is that these trial bags are also home compostable. They are designed to collect organic waste, such as your kitchen scraps, and will compost with the organic waste in a home compost environment. also quoted her as saying: “The bag will break down after three to six months –depending on the composting system– as opposed to the reported 500 to 1,000 years for plastic bags. Customers can also bring the bags back to our stores and we will take them to a Pick n Pay composting facility.”

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