Examples of plastic shopping bags. (iWN photo)

Come July 3 — International No Plastic Bag Day — Massy Stores throughout the Caribbean will begin a campaign to discourage the use of single-use plastic bags for bagging groceries at its checkouts.

The company said it will do so while actively encouraging customers to shop with reusable bags as a more eco-friendly option.

The strategy to reduce plastic waste is part of the Massy group’s broader commitment to become more environmentally sensitive throughout its operation and finding ways of operating more sustainable throughout the region, General Manager Vanessa DeSouza said in a press statement.

“This is a phased and gradual strategy which includes a review of all Massy stores operational practices as well as discussions with suppliers, manufactures, policy makers, environmental groups and customers. Here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines the company will be charging 25 cents for single-use plastic bags provided at checkout,” DeSouza said.

“Over the years we have become very dependent on plastic products especially single-use plastic bags. There continues to be overwhelming evidence of the adverse effect of plastic products on our environment and marine life. Our move to curtail the issuance of single-use plastic bags at our checkout is a very bold one. Understandably, there will be some discomfort by our customers in the initial stages and we are working assiduously, along with various stakeholders, to assist our valued customers through this transition period. In the coming weeks, we will host several activities geared towards creating public awareness. With the support of our customers and other stakeholders, we are committed to reduce avoidable plastic waste in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” the manager said.

“In keeping with best practice customers will continue to be issued with small plastic bags at the checkout to separate meat/poultry products thereby minimizing the risk of seepage and cross-contamination,” she further stated.

The manager said that her company acknowledges that business have a responsibility to manage plastic waste to minimise adverse impacts of their operations on the environment.

The company recognises the importance of policy shifts through legislation as a critical component to catalyse much-needed change where this is concerned.

“Massy Stores is encouraging organisations with a core environmental mandate to accelerate their programmes to help customers with this important transition. “Further and to support such efforts, proceeds from the sale of the plastic bags sales will be placed into an Environmental fund to help with environmental awareness, recycling, waste collection and repurposing projects,” DeSouza said.

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