Plastic bags, straws must fall

Donald Kau and Petro Myburgh of the Waterfront pledge to refrain from using single-use plastic.

The V&A Waterfront has pledged to work with all its retailers, especially Pick n Pay, to eradicate the use of plastic.

An International Plastic Free Day event was held on Tuesday July 3.

Andre Thuys, the operations manager at the Waterfront, said as one of the recognised waterfronts in the world, they take the environment seriously.

“We care for the environment and the oceans. We recycle a substantial amount of waste and lots of it comes from the maritime industry.”

He said the Waterfront aimed to be free of single-use plastic and to educate people on the use of plastic such as straws and plastic bags.

“Hotels on the premises are also doing their part by manufacturing their own reusable bottles, and Pick n Pay has introduced biodegradable bags.

Suzanne Ackerman of Pick n Pay said approximately two million plastic bags are used worldwide every minute.

Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes, but take up to 500 years to degrade, and about one trillion plastic bags are produced around the world annually.

Pick n Pay has launched shopping boxes as well as biodegradable plastic bags which they gave customers for free. The boxes cost R5.

“We want to change the way consumers shop. We are giving away a million compostable bags, made by Township Patterns and making sure people don’t buy plastic bags today.”

Hayley McLellen, environmental campaigner for the Two Oceans Aquarium, said the aquarium is currently running the Rethink the Bag campaign, aimed at educating people about the harm being caused by single-use plastic shopping bags.

“It is a journey that we all have to take.

“The aquarium is known for sustainability and education around it, yet we are still on the journey.”

She said while single-use plastic bags and straws were problematic for the environment, people shouldn’t demonise plastic as we still need it.

“We all need to turn off the tap on single-use plastic suppliers. I think there should be no plastic bags in South Africa.”

To create awareness, the V&A Waterfront launched the construction of a skeleton of a whale, made out of recycled plastic. They will also be swopping shoppers’ plastic bags for fabric bags manufactured by a local community this week.