Cape Town Clamps Down on Single-Use Plastic

Not only are Capetonians talking the eco-friendly talk, but they are walking the walk too. 

As of 31 January 2020, World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa released the Plastic Pact – which will be managed and delivered by NPO GreenCape – to reduce and rework the way consumers use plastic. While there has been a noticeable shift, with people taking it upon themselves to adopt environmentally responsible practices, local governments and municipalities can assume more of an active role in supporting and facilitating their communities’ efforts.

The City of Cape Town has already answered the call to avail itself as a systematic intermediary. Together with the National Department of Environmental Affairs, the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO), and Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Cape Town aims to drastically decrease the amount of waste caused by plastic and plastic-related materials. It is believed that if we continue on our environmentally reckless path, the amount of plastic in our oceans will greatly outweigh the fish in the sea. The time to act has never been more pressing.

The city has committed to reaching the following targets outlined in the pact by 2025:

  • All plastic products and/or packaging be manufactured from recycled plastic
  • 70% of plastic packaging needs to be effectively recycled
  • Take action against problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative delivery models

Campaigns to replace plastic straws with biodegradable options have been well received by the South African populous, encouraging local supermarkets and the like to introduce eco-friendly alternatives in their own businesses. Spar started the trend, with their heavy duty grocery bags made from recycled plastic, Food Lovers Market followed soon after with cardboard and paper bags. Pick n Pay is the latest brand to innovate in a green way with reusable hemp and netted produce bags that are available for purchase.

The supermarket chain hasn’t stopped there. Similar to Nude Foods, which opened its doors in December 2017, Pick n Pay is piloting a packaging-free zone at its Constantia location. Customers can pick and weigh over 88 items (including pasta and cereal) to place into jars and containers brought from home or purchased in store.

Depending on how this is received, the new addition will be introduced to more stores across the country, including the 29 branches that already have plastic-free fruit and vegetable walls in them.

The founding members of the Plastic Pact also include the Clicks Group, Coca-Cola Africa, Shoprite Group, SPAR, Spur Corporation, Tigerbrands, Unilever and Woolworths who released a 29-item Earth Friendly range of cleaning products that do not contain chlorine, phosphates, dyes or parabens, triclosan or artificial colours; and which are also sold in recyclable packaging.

The Cape Town community has always been at the forefront of eco-friendly consumerism. Veganism and similar ethical practices tend to truly pick up steam in the Mother City, so we are anticipating great change to come from Western Cape’s capital.

  • Michelle Egberink
    Posted at 22:57h, 12 February Reply

    This is wonderful news. I am proud to live in the City of Cape Town where we have a local government that takes responsible action to protect and safeguard our envi.

  • Nick Argiriou
    Posted at 10:24h, 14 February Reply

    Great news, still don’t understand why in Thornton NO recycling pick up occurs?? I have to drop mine off in Pinelands!!

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