40.5 Million Plastic Bags Removed Across 5 Caribbean Territories, One Year After Massy Stores Announced Bag Charge
One year after its bold announcement to implement a charge for single use plastic bags, Massy Stores has recorded that positive customer response has led to a 80%-90% reduction in the circulation of single use plastic bags from its 48 stores across the territories in which it operates – Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana. This reduction translates to over 40.5 million bags removed from circulation over the past year.
The positive consumer response was also mirrored in the increased usage of reusable bags. The company recorded that over the past year, 1 million reusable bags were in circulation across the regional customer base.
The decision to reduce plastic waste is part of the company’s broader commitment to find ways to operate more sustainably and become more environmentally conscious. Across the region, Massy Stores has begun changing its lighting systems to LED to reduce energy consumption. In Barbados and St. Lucia, solar (photovoltaic) systems were installed to power systems using renewable energy. The supermarket chain also switched to ozone friendly gas to fuel the air conditioning and refrigeration systems and incorporated insulated roofing in its new building designs to reduce energy consumption. Legislative support in St. Vincent and Guyana resulted in the 100% elimination of Styrofoam in our stores, with increased reductions in other territories pending legislated bans.
Across the region the company forged several partnerships with environmental agencies such the recycling organizations Jua Kali in St. Lucia; B’s Recycling in Barbados and iCare Program in Trinidad and Tobago who have all partnered with Massy Stores to collect and remove recyclable waste. Further, our Caribbean-wide employees have participated in several clean-up activities and initiatives to remove waste plastic from the environment.
In each territory Massy Stores has advanced the agenda for positive environmental action. A systematic, waste diversion strategy was implemented in St. Lucia – an effort for which our operations received international recognition at the 2019 IGA Global Rally in San Diego. In Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, a regularly scheduled system for the collection of plastic waste, brought in by customers to store locations, has facilitated a mind shift in the way customers sort and dispose of non-recyclable waste. In St. Vincent, Guyana, and other territories Massy Stores has been focused on empowering active environmental groups through financial contributions to support their efforts. Regionally, over US$40,000 was awarded to environmental groups over the past year.
Massy Stores remains committed to doing its part, sharing best practices, listening to stakeholders and collaborating with its diverse, valued customers to be A Force for Good for the region.
Celebrate 🐢International No Plastic Bag Day 🐢with #MassyStores! For one week, July 3rd – July 9th, get one Reusable Bag FREE when you purchase one, also get 10 Massy points every time you use your Massy Stores Reusable Bag! Don’t forget to bring in your E-waste today too, and thanks for celebrating with us! 🙌
The Sugar Apple plant is being used for the plant torch activity. The imagery of the Olympic Torch is being used to pass the Sugar Apple plant from school to school throughout Trinidad and Tobago where it will be nurtured by children. The fire of the Olympic Torch, once lit remains throughout the games, despite the weather. When passing the plant from school to school,we hope that, in a similar manner it will not go out/die as we pass it from school to school.
The plant is being used as a symbol of food security for us in Trinidad and Tobago. The symbolic gesture of passing the plant therefore depicts the sharing of the responsibility of achieving the goal of food security.
The first inaugural Plant torch activity was held in 2016 as a precursor to the actual Run for Food. It started with the exchange of a Penny Piece plant between Trinidad and Tobago on February 17, 2016. The plant nurtured in Trinidad was planted in the Hollows of the Queens Park Savannah on 9th April 2016 at a tree planting ceremony. A similar activity was done in Tobago. Since then:
- In 2017, 7 schools participated and the Balata Plant was used as the “Torch”
- In 2018, 8 schools participated and the Tamarind Plant was used as the “Torch”
- In 2019, 8 schools will participate and the Sugar Apple plant is being used as the “Torch”
Participating schools received a brochure on the plant with instructions on how to take care of it. At the end of the activity students will be awarded a certificate for successful nurturing and participation.
The Schools participating this year are:
- Laventille Girls Government
- Arima Girls RC
- Matelot Community College
- Mayaro Secondary
- Tableland AC
- Penal Quinam Government
- Siparia KPA
- Palmiste Government
This year for the 1st time we have secondary schools taking part in this activity.
Today (March 15, 2019) Trinidad and Tobago Eco-Divers Club, the only local community to conduct underwater clean up exercises, received a significant contribution of eighty thousand dollar (TT$80,000) from Massy Stores Trinidad.
The contribution will be used to acquire airlift bags to remove underwater waste as well as marker buoys and diving equipment to support the club in their clean-up efforts, at the start of the turtle nesting season.
“The turtle population, particularly those who nest along our north west coastlines suffer tremendously as a result of plastic pollution. Hawksbill turtles in particular get disoriented and die in a sea of plastic when they come ashore. Juveniles especially become trapped or injured by plastic and other items. Overall, the marine life in that area of Trinidad and Tobago is under serious threat. At the very least, Massy’s donation will help us to remove waste and hopefully safeguard the turtle population in the area,” commented Shari Wellington-Griffith, Chairman, Trinidad and Tobago Eco-Divers Club.
“The airlift bags will help us to bring underwater waste, such as plastic waste lodged between rocks, to the surface more efficiently so that we can remove it from the marine environment,” she added.
This partnership is the first of many partnerships to come, following Massy Stores’ decision in 2018 to reduce the impact of plastic waste by implementing a charge for single-use plastic bags.
Thomas Pantin, Executive Chairman, Massy’s Retail Line of Business said “we made a commitment last year to our customers that the proceeds from the sale of plastic bags would be donated to support environmental sustainability. Our philosophy, which will guide how we select groups and projects to support, is to empower communities, such as the community of divers of the T&T Eco Divers Club, in their efforts to remove plastic waste from the environment.”
Since the implementation of the charge for plastic bags, Massy Stores Trinidad has experienced a 90% reduction in single-use bags circulated from our stores, nationwide.