With the island’s largest supermarket chain now on board, Public Relations Officer of the Future Centre Trust (FCT) Kammie Holder is reporting that Barbados is well on its way towards the reduction of single-use garbage bags.
Massy Stores Barbados announced recently that it would be charging a fee of ten cents per plastic bag at all of its stores from July 3, as it officially rolls out its reduction of single use plastic initiative.
Massy will be the latest in a series of supermarkets and hardware and department stores that have started to charge customers for plastic bags, with the aim of reducing plastic bag use and encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags.
The initiative was first announced in November 2015, with a start date of May 1, 2016 at 20 cents per plastic bag.
However, after several hiccups and public outcry, the initiative came into effect on June 1, 2017 at a reduced cost.
Holder told Barbados TODAY he was satisfied with the progress made so far.
“It has been a success. We now have Massy who as of July 3rd will be charging ten cents for each plastic bag that you seek to take. They will also be offering reusable shopping bags. That to me will show that we are making some inroads in terms of the reduction of single-use plastic bags in Barbados,” said Holder.
“You have a lot of small merchants too who have been offering bags for sale, that is reusable shopping bags. So we are on our way towards the reduction of not only waste of single use plastic bags, but also the total destruction of our environment through the excessive use of plastics,” he said.
Stating that sometimes it was necessary “to force the hands” of Barbadians when change was required, Holder said if Barbadians were not willing to make the change on their own Government would impose a tax to help bring about the desired change.
However, Holder said since the initiative started more Barbadians were showing an interest in travelling with their own shopping bags.
“That is an indication that the message is getting out there in terms of people willing to make a change for the betterment of our environment,” he said.
“If people do not change their behaviour the Government will have no choice but to increase taxes to clean up after them,” he added.
The environmental advocate said while he “really don’t want persons to pay the ten cents”, the initiative was designed to get people to understand there was a need for them to change their behaviour.
“We in Barbados we are so indifferent that unless the big stick approach is used nobody wants to comply. But as I said, unless we hurt persons in their pockets we are not going to get a change in behaviour and I am sorry but that seems the only way that we can get people to understand the environment does not owe us, that we owe the environment,” said Holder.