People still not in sync with no-plastic drive

National 2 minutes, 45 seconds


BRUNEIANS are still not fully on board with the ‘No Plastic Bag Campaign’ yet, as many weekend shoppers still forget to bring their reusable bags, some supermarket employees said yesterday.

Two employees from Supa Save supermarket in Beribi said only expatriate customers willingly bring reusable bags when they shop, even during weekdays.

The employees said: “they regularly see local customers come without reusable bags on weekends. And they defiantly display outrage upon being told to comply with the law”.

“At times, they even accuse us of trying to profit from selling them the reusable bags because they do not have anything on hand”.

“Another common refrain from such customers is that they already have a lot of reusable bags at home (which they forget to bring) and that they refuse to buy any more,” one of the employees said.

Reusable bags are sold at $1 each at the supermarket, the employee said.

When asked, the Supa Save employees said that it was “quite impossible” for local customers not to know about the rule, as the No Plastic Bag Weekend initiative has been going on for a few years.

The plan was introduced by the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRE) in early 2011 to reduce overall plastic use in the country.

In 2012, the department expanded the initiative to include Fridays.

Meanwhile, Hua Ho Kiulap supermarket manager Chai said only about half of their customers bring reusable bags to shop on weekends.

“Most customers always say they’ve left their reusable bags in their cars and are not willing to go to get them,” he explained.

In such cases, customers often opted to put their groceries in their shopping trolleys, push the trolleys to their cars, and then transfer the groceries from the trolleys into the reusable bags at their cars, Chai said.

However, the manager said that most forgetful customers were relatively more amicable to comply with No Plastic Bag Weekend these days compared to when the rule was first introduced.

“These days, only some senior citizens who might not understand the rule get angry or annoyed,” Chai said.

Afifah, an employee at the Jaya Hypermarket in Gadong, similarly said that only half of their customers bring their reusable bags on weekends.

Yet, she observed that the majority of customers seemed to know about the No Plastic Bag weekend initiative – apart from tourists – and that most customers were often willing to buy new reusable bags at either $1.20 or $1.50 (depending on the bag size) if they forgot their own.

“If not, they will use use empty cardboard boxes or their shopping trolleys to store their groceries,” Afifah explained.

No customers bring reusable bags to shop on week days, she said.

Utama Grand Superstore employee Rina also said that weekend customers were often willing to purchase reusable bags if they forget to bring their own.

Less than half of customers regularly bring their reusable bags during weekends, she added.

“Customers often forget and leave their reusable bags in their cars, and are not willing to get them because their parking spots might be quite far away.

“So, they usually end up using cardboard boxes to store their groceries,” Rina said.

Rina further said that occasionally, customers even forget that Fridays are part of the No Plastic Bag Weekend initiative.

The Brunei Times