Pick n Pay launches plastic waste awareness campaign to encourage positive consumer behaviour.

Consumers have become increasingly concerned about plastic waste. But if we are to experience a real shift in behaviour and make a sustainable long-term impact in our environment, we need to reinforce the message of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

This is according to Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Pick n Pay’s director for Transformation, who today provided an update on the retailer’s plastic waste reduction initiatives at an event in Cape Town.

With a strong focus on awareness, Pick n Pay unveiled its life-size rhino sculpture which has been creatively decorated with plastic waste designed by local artist, Heath Nash, known for his ability to repurpose post-consumer plastic waste into artwork and innovative products.

“Many consumers remain unaware about the unintentional harm they may be causing to the environment by not recycling, re-using, or repurposing plastic. We wanted to visually show consumers the type of plastic that feeds into our oceans and environment every day and that these items can be repurposed if recycled.

The rhino will be displayed at the V&A Waterfront – one of the continent’s most visited destinations – for the next three-months, and visitors will be invited to participate with the artist in the completion of the installation. “The rhino is one of our country’s biggest draw cards. We wanted to grab visitors’ attention to the plight of plastic waste our environment is facing, while also raising awareness for South African’s endangered rhinos: #morerhinolessplastic.”

Pick n Pay, in partnership with the V&A Waterfront, has also launched two Reverse Vending Machines whereby customers will be rewarded for recycling any recyclable waste product with a relevant barcode. Customers who recycle more than three times in a month will be entered into a monthly draw and 50 customers will receive a free reusable RPET Pick n Pay bag. Each week one customer will also win a R200 Pick n Pay Waterfront gift card for using the machine. At the end of the campaign, the customer who recycled the most will win a R5,000 gift card.

David Green, V&A Waterfront CEO, says that by partnering in initiatives such as this one with Pick n Pay we can use our broad public platform to create greater awareness about the crucial need for recycling. “At the end of 2017 we made a commitment to eliminate single-use plastic bags and bottles from across our property and we are actively working to make this a reality working alongside our tenant partners. As the country’s oldest working harbour and one of the most recognised waterfronts in the world, we are especially aware of our responsibility to protect the ocean as a natural resource and the need to act urgently.”

In June, Pick n Pay announced a set of focused initiatives to reduce plastic waste and remains as committed to leading change in plastic usage and possible alternatives by actively working with its partners and suppliers.

The retailer has started phasing out plastic straws with paper straws and this is expected to be completed by the end of December. Pick n Pay ear buds with paper inners have also been introduced in-store. Their new blue recyclable plastic carrier bag made from 100% recycled material with a bold message of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle on the bag is also being introduced into all stores nationally. “We’ve also introduced a unique range of new 100% RPET reusable bags, in addition to the Township Group Bottle Bag,” says Ackerman-Berman.

The company also undertook a unique one-day, one-store pilot project to raise awareness and see how customers responded to compostable bags and cardboard boxes as an alternative to plastic bags. “As there are no integrated large-scale composting facilities available in South Africa, rolling out a compostable bag project on a large scale isn’t yet feasible in South Africa. But, we have extended the pilot on the cardboard box to six stores in the Western Cape and the uptake has been very positive. Later this year, we will also trial paper bags in select stores.

“While it isn’t possible to change behaviour overnight, we will continue to work with our customers to introduce alternative options and measure our efforts so that we can drive feasible options that will drive real, long-term sustainable change both for our environment and our customers,” concludes Ackerman-Berman.



Issued by Corporate Image on behalf of Pick n Pay 


About the Heath Nash

His business, Heath Nash cc, has been operating since 2004, and makes products with a uniquely South African and environmentally conscious slant. His product range, “Other People’s Rubbish” is made from used plastic bottles and galvanised wire and champions the process of recycling and innovative re-use.

Rhino conservation: #MoreRhinoLessPlastic

Joe Pietersen from Nkombe Rhino was at the event discussing why rhino conservation is important.

Nkombe Rhino is a NPO that supports a Counter Poaching Team on the Blue Canyon Reserve in the LowVeld of South Africa. Their mission is to build a sustainable conservation model to benefit involved communities and surrounding reserves. Nkombe Rhino is totally funded through donations, tourism and corporate involvements in specialised projects. For more information, please visit nkomberhino.org.