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Shoprite is now using plastic returned to its distribution centres to produce 100% recycled and recyclable plastic shopping bags.

The Shoprite Group has announced that it is now using the 4 000 tons of plastic returned annually to its distribution centres to produce its 100% recycled and recyclable plastic shopping bags.

This initiative aims to be in line with the group’s commitment to ensure that 100% of its plastic packaging is reusable and/or recyclable by 2025.

Since the beginning of November 2019, plastic from the retail group’s Centurion, Canelands and Cilmor distribution centres are being collected, converted into pellets and used to manufacture the plastic carrier bags for its supermarkets.

“This is the latest among the growing number of circular economy practices we are putting in place,” says group sustainability manager Sanjeev Raghubir.

The group says that it plans for 100% of its plastic packaging to be reusable and/or recyclable by 2025, with an average of 30% recycled content to be used in all plastic packaging. 

Suppliers are already being provided with reusable, returnable packing crates to minimise packaging.

In the last financial year, the group:

  • sold 645 million recyclable plastic bags made from 100% post-consumer material, diverting 7 095 tons of plastic from landfills
  • sold 855 000 of its R3 ‘planet’ bags and paid out more than R200 000 to customers in rebates for reusing the bag
  • recycled 3 995 tons of plastic and 33 658 tons of cardboard through its distribution centres
  • reused 2 781 tons of cardboard packaging in partnership with another retailer

“Consumers are increasingly expecting recyclable packaging and they expect transparency from retailers regarding the environmental impact of their end-to-end operations,” concludes Raghubir.

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