Petaling Jaya, 23 February 2021 – Commencing immediately, all Village Grocer outlets in Klang Valley and Johor have completely switch-off the offering of single-use plastic bags at checkout counters, thus saving approximately 6 million plastic bags, contributing to lesser plastic waste and taking customers further towards a circular economy.
Operated by The Food Purveyor (TFP), which also manages Ben’s Independent Grocer (B.I.G), BSC Fine Foods and Pasaraya OTK; the initiative is in tandem with TFP environmental sustainability goal “Plastic Free by 2023” that aims to eliminate all single-use plastic from its business operation before the end of 2023 and promote reusable, sustainable alternatives to foster long-term behavioural change.
The first move saw TFP switched off single-use plastic carrier bags at checkout counters in B.I.G in October 2020, followed by introducing the usage of reusable mesh bags for fresh fruits and vegetable areas in Village Grocer and B.I.G to replace the plastic produce rolls that customers frequently use for weighed products, earlier this year.
In total, TFP anticipates eliminating about 30 million single-use plastics packaging and bags by the end of 2021.
In a 2019 study commissioned by WWF, Malaysia has the highest annual per capita plastic use, at 16.78 kg per person compared to other ASEAN countries. In terms of plastic waste, Malaysia ranks the second-highest in overall generated waste1.
“Plastic pollution is a pressing issue, globally. The simplest way to reduce plastic pollution is to simply stop using single-use plastic. And that is what we did. We completely removed all single-use plastic bags in our outlets and drive momentum in influencing our customers’ behaviour to bring their reusable produce and carrier bags and reward them via our Bites loyalty programme. The more they use reusable bags, the more rewards they gain, and the cycle continues and no plastic bag “leakages” into the environment.
We have also learnt and seen an increase in willingness to pay from customers for our eco-friendly products, especially the limited-edition designs for our reusable bag. We are glad that our customers more aware and opting to adopt sustainable bag solutions.
We hope to lead by example, contribute towards Malaysia’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030 and inspire other retailers to adopt the same initiative,” said Geoff King, Chief Executive Officer of The Food Purveyor.
Going further, TFP will be switching off plastic bags every weekend for BSC Fine Foods starting February 19,2021.
Among TFP major milestones are reducing plastic wraps for fresh vegetable and fruit produces by 50% and replacing it with eco-friendly packaging and investing in reusable stainless-steel boxes to keep produce fresh and minimise packaging needs.
This initiative also contributes directly and indirectly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) particularly SDG 12 Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG14 – Life Below Water.