Liberty Two Degrees (L2D), which owns some of South Africa’s top and biggest shopping malls, says it will implement a “no plastic shopping bag” policy at by 1 January 2020.

Sandton City, Melrose Arch, and the Eastgate complex, which are part of L2D’s portfolio, may have to drop the use of plastic bags by the end of the year.

Amelia Beattie, the company’s chief executive said in a statement that they decided to take the “bold step to implement a ‘no plastic shopping bags’ policy across our malls to ensure that change starts with us.”

“With rising levels of plastic pollution in our country and oceans, it is no longer a case of best practice to eradicate the use of plastic shopping bags but rather a commitment of paramount importance and necessity. We are committed to implementing this initiative to drive our sustainability imperative,” said Beattie.

L2D has already introduced recycling drop-off booths at Sandton City and Eastgate, and is in the process of expanding this to all its malls.

In Johannesburg, more than 740 tenants will be affected at Sandton City, 425 tenants at the Eastgate Complex and 171 tenants at Nelson Mandela Square.

The company also owns Liberty Midlands Mall in KwaZulu-Natal and Liberty Promenade Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape.