Petaling Jaya, 4 January 2021 – After the successful move of switching off single-use plastic carrier bags at checkout counters last year in Ben’s Independent Grocer (B.I.G), Village Grocer and B.I.G are uniting under a new initiative to eliminate 30 million single-use plastic in 2021.
The initiative involves eliminating single-use plastic bags from its fresh fruits and vegetables areas and introducing the usage of reusable mesh bags to eventually replace the plastic produce rolls that customers frequently use for weighed products.
It is the next bold move by The Food Purveyor (TFP) (operator of Village Grocer and B.I.G) to eliminate single-use plastic usage in all its outlets and focus on promoting reusable, sustainable alternatives to foster long-term behavioural change.
A study conducted by WWF stated in terms of plastic waste, Malaysia ranks the second-highest in Southeast Asia in overall generated waste1. According to the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA), the average Malaysian uses 300 plastic bags per year2.
“Plastic produce bags are often used once to carry fruits and vegetables home from the grocery and are then thrown away without a second thought or use turning an everyday consumable into an environmental hazard.
We are tackling the issue by offering more loose fruits and vegetables and replacing the single-use plastic wraps and packaging with sustainable packaging to reduce plastic waste. We encourage our shoppers to bring their produce bags to carry their fresh produce items and we will be rewarding them with 50 Bites points (equivalent to 50 cents) each time they do so.
Last year from our switch off single-use plastic carrier bags initiative, we have managed to eliminate the need for 6 million plastic carrier bags a year. This year, we target the elimination of another 20 million single-use produce bags and at the same time preventing plastic pollution. In total, we anticipate saving the introduction of over 30 million single-use plastic packaging and bags a year”, said Geoff King, Chief Executive Officer of The Food Purveyor.
He added that The Food Purveyor is firm on their commitment to convert customers away from single-use plastic packaging and to adopt sustainable bag solutions for fresh produce. This initiative is a part of the company flagship environmental sustainability goal “Plastic Free by 2023” that aims to eliminate all single-use plastic from our business operation before the end of 2023.
Going further, Village Grocer outlets are currently switching off plastic bags on every weekend and will be completely switch-off the offering of single-use plastic bags at checkout counters starting 15 February 2021 onwards. This initiative also contributes directly and indirectly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) particularly SDG14 – Life Below Water.