Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 29th 2017 Contents JUNE 29 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG9
Think. Act. Re-use
Taking its corporate social
responsibility project called
Think, Act, Re-use to a next
level, Massy Stores joins the
called Plastic Bag Free World
to commemorate International Plastic Bag Free
Day on July 3.
This means that consumers shopping at
Massy Stores across the country on that day,
would have to walk with their own reusable
bag to put their groceries in or pay $10 for a
Using a reusable bag is being promoted on
the "Plastic Bag Free World" website by asking
consumers to take a picture with their reusable
bag and post it to the movement's Facebook
page with an accompanying caption, "Plastic
bags are so yesterday, I choose to reuse."
Plastic Bag Free World is a global initiative
aimed at eliminating the use of single-use
plastic bags in the world, its website www.
The statistics are a cause for concern, as the
website reports one million plastic bags are in
use around the world every minute, and it takes
between 100-500 years for a plastic bag to dis-
integrate; depending on the type of plastic.
A consumer, according to the website, on
average uses a plastic bag for 25 minutes.
Conscious of their responsibility to the
environment, this is the first time the super-
market chain joins hands with an international
movement to increase awareness against using
However, it's not the first time that a reusable
bag initiative has been implemented at the su-
permarket chain as Massy has been partnering
with Plastikeep, a recycling company.
Chief executive of Massy Stores, Derek Win-
ford spoke to Business Guardian on June 22,
about the Plastic Bag Free Day initiative as well
as other strategies to reach its customer base.
In an interview at Massy Stores' 39A Wright-
son Road, Port-of-Spain headquarters he said
the company is not against plastics because
it can be recycled.
"What we are really looking at is creating a
way to get the public informed about recycling,
that is what it is about. It is really to create a
public awareness that plastics can be recycled;
that is the direction which we should be going.
We decided to take an active role and a lead in
Massy Stores is a "heavy" contributor to
the Green Fund, Winford said, adding that
Plastikeep has been trying to access the fund
but to no avail.
Winford said Massy has stepped in and de-
cided to support Plastikeep.
The support, he said, is such that Plasti-
keep's bins, which members of the public can
drop off plastics in, are located at all Massy's
"We pay for the presence of the bins there
and for the removal of the plastics. The plas-
tic bins have to be emptied twice per week.
Even the schedule we have now is not enough
because that increased awareness is causing
more consumers to bring in their plastics and
place them into the bin."
What is clear, Winford said, is that the re-
cycling of plastics is the strategic direction in
which T&T needs to go.
He added that when beaches and drains are
cleaned, most of the items pulled out are made
Weighing in on consumer's brand loyalty to
Massy, he said sales on July 3 should not drop.
"With every hundred people, you are going to
have mixed emotions, responses, and feelings.
I can tell you the majority of what we see on
social media has been positive. Our intention
on how it is received could be very different."
Winford added that when the bags were
first put on sale 10 years ago, the response
An initiative supporting the bag that began
two years ago is that consumers gets five points
on their loyalty card whenever they use a re-
usable bag, Winford said.
Responding to Massy's critics that using no
plastic bags for one day would mean that the
supermarket chain is just trying to make mon-
ey, Winford questioned how a supermarket
could make money for one day by not using
"We have been selling the resusable bag for
$10 for the last 10 years, how could we make
money in one day not using plastic bags? If
you put financial common sense to that, it
just does not add up. This is an initiative to
create awareness for what plastic does to the
environment and to create awareness that we
should use less plastic."
He said the time had come for the Govern-
ment to provide further support through the
Green Fund, for members of the public who
are involved in recycling.
The plastic can be grinded and used as a
raw material for the beverage manufacturers
Asked whether his supermarket has ever
been called upon to submit changes or sug-
gestions to the Beverage Container Bill, 2012,
the Massy executive said the Supermarket
Association of T&T is the umbrella body for
supermarkets in the country and, therefore,
they usually submit any recommendations.
Winford added that the practice of using no
plastic bags is not a T&T practice because it
is done internationally.
"I think Europe is probably the most ad-
vanced in it. The supermarkets in Europe do
not use plastic bags. You have to bring your
own bag and where there are bags, you have
to pay for it. In London, and Ireland they do
not give you bags in the supermarket."
The No Plastic Bag initiative is for Massy
Stores T&T operations at this time as the
stores in St Lucia and Barbados have not im-
The reusable bags are bought from a Chinese
supplier and are for the entire Caribbean.
Asked how much it costs Massy to empty
the Plastikeep bins Winford said: "Plastikeep
alone costs us about $50,000 per month to
keep the bins emptied, on top of that we pay
into the Green Fund."
He did not, however, disclose how much the
company contributes to the Green Fund, stat-
ing only that it was within the million-dollar
Critical of how the Green Fund is managed
when it comes to providing support for com-
panies that do recycling, Winford said, "We
still turnaround and do these things (have re-
cycling initiatives even though we contribute
to the Green Fund) and you would think all the
money you pay to Green Fund would support
an initiative like Plastikeep. I think with the
awareness we created, somebody is going to
finally set up another plastic mincing plant and
offer consumers other ways to recycle and of
course we are going to be part of that."
While Massy has a successful project in
T&T, before it can take this initiative to oth-
er branches in the Caribbean, Winford noted
that the company has to take into account the
culture and laws of other countries even though
it is the same Massy Stores, he said.
Massy Stores joins support for International Plastic Bag Free Day
DEREK WINFORD PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Here's why you
July 3, Plastic Bag Free Day at
all Massy Stores across T&T
• Increases awareness about the
dangers of plastic to the environ-
• Reduce pollution as it takes 100-
500 years for one plastic bag to dis-
integrate (depending on the type
• Gain points: walk with your reus-
able bag on that day and earn five
points on your Massy Card
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