Pick n Pay (PnP) Namibia – a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group – on Tuesday, 20 August 2019 handed over all its profits from the sale of grocery plastic bags for the months of June and July, to the Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF).
As from the 1st of June 2019, PnP implemented a charge of 50 cents per grocery plastic bag at all its stores across the country, under its ‘PLASTIC or PLANET’ campaign aimed at encouraging the responsible use of plastic bags, from which the decision to charge for plastic bags was born. PnP Namibia Marketing Manager, Victoria Moller: “It is unfortunate how plastic has grown to become such a negative topic to the environment, and while it is not the plastic as such that is the problem, but rather the behaviour of human beings with the use and treatment of plastic that has led to the unfortunate impact it has on the planet today, it is important for PnP Namibia, as a caring Namibian entity, to play our part in sustaining our environment. This has also led to the decision to charge for the grocery plastic bags in order to encourage the lesser and responsible use of plastic bags. While we aim to promote responsible and safe use of plastic, we will also make use of the PLASTIC or PLANET campaign to encourage consumers to rather opt for the re-usable grocery shopping bag that is also available for purchase at any PnP store countywide. Meanwhile, the thicker, stronger plastic bag (thicker than the current plastic bag consumers are used to) which can be used more than once, was introduced as contribution to reducing the use of plastic bags, and also reducing the waste thereof. “According to Moller, the cost for the current plastic bags available at all PnP store cashiers for consumers, is 43 cents, and the profits of 7 cents made from each bag sold, will be donated to the RNF as a continuation of PnP’s longstanding relationship with the forum. The amount of N$195 000, 00 incurred for the months of June and July was handed over to the RNF.
The funds, according to RNF Coordinator, Anita Witt will be used in support of activities to promote environmental sustainability. Witt: “Through the Schools Recycling Competition; community clean-ups; and online awareness campaigns – the RNF has already reached thousands of people, from all walks of life, across the entire Namibia. The message has always been clear – in order to truly achieve sustainable development, we have to rethink the future and the way we interact with waste. Looking forward, the RNF is cognisant of the fact that true behaviour change will only be facilitated through education and awareness. With this in mind, all money received from PnP will be allocated to a project specifically aimed at empowering the youth of today to become the environmental stewards of tomorrow. The signed agreement between the RNF and PnP clearly stipulates that teachers and young leaders must be empowered in order to ensure that tangible change can be introduced in their communities.” According to Witt, targets with the funds handed over by PnP, include:
- Appointment of a dedicated resource with the necessary skills and experience to successfully engage with education institutions;
- Development of the necessary materials to ensure that educators have access to the most relevant information, and
- Engagement with at least 10 schools within the three regions in which the schools recycling project is currently active, with the aim of empowering at least 50 teachers and reaching at least 1000 students by May 2020.
Guest speaker, Dr. Selma Lendelvo – a researcher at the University of Namibia (UNAM) and environmentalist stressed on the impact of plastic bags on the environment. Lendelvo: “Having Plastic bags in our society is therefore not the problem – it is our addiction to them and the never minded attitude with which we as people view and manage them, that is the problem. We need to find ways to change our behaviour – we live on a finite planet, with finite resources – we cannot continue to suffocate our natural resources in waste. As Namibians, we have to rethink our relationship with waste, and we need to find sustainable avenues for creating income through green jobs in waste management and recycling; and innovative avenues of production. As an environmentalist, I applaud organisations which are pro-actively looking for ways to reduce the impact of plastic toxic on the environment – especially when it comes to post-consumer waste, something which most industries tend to want to forget about. Therefore, along with the selling of plastic bags, recycling of plastic materials should be regarded as an important and an urgent TASK for us all! - To Save our Planet. Hence, I congratulate the Ohlthaver & List Group for this commendable initiative.”