Ditch plastic to save cash and the environment

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Ditch plastic to save cash and the environment
By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: February 02, 2008, 21:30

Abu Dhabi: Prices of plastic shopping bags have increased by 200 per cent forcing retailers to look for ways to minimise their costs, Gulf News has learnt.

Several retail chains in the country said that they are looking for ways to minimise the use of plastic bags.

“Apart from environmental degradation, the price rise of plastic bags make an additional cost which could be shared with the customers if alternative arrangements can be made,” said a spokesperson for one of the largest retail chains in the region.

Some markets are even ready to reduce prices of goods for customers if they start using their own re-usable jute or cloth bags.

“There has been a 200 per cent increase in plastic bag prices in the past one-and-a-half years. The average price has increased from Dh3 per kilo to Dh9 per kilo,” said V. Nandakumar, corporate communication manager of EMKE Group, which runs Lulu hypermarkets.

He said that their 47 outlets in the country consume about 100 tonnes of plastic bags a month. “If we take the case of our about 69 outlets in the Gulf region, the consumption goes up to 150 tonnes a month.”

The millions of dirhams spent by each outlet on the environmentally damaging bags could be shared with customers, he said.

He disclosed the group’s plan to initiate such a step. “We are planning awareness campaigns against plastic bags in cooperation with various official agencies,” said Nandakumar.

Al Maya supermarkets in Dubai said they are also planning an awareness campaign against plastic bags.

Its director, Kamal Vachani, said people are more serious about pollution caused by plastic bags and their use has gone down.

Several awareness campaigns are being carried out against the use of plastic bags.

Dubai Municipality and the International Association for Human Values recently announced the Green Shopper awards, which will reward stores that take steps to reduce use of plastic bags.

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