By Earyel Bowleg
CONSUMERS are already voicing their anger as the new single use plastic ban which has now come into effect.
As of January 1, businesses are mandated to sell plastic shopping bags for 25 cents to $1.
Keva Gottlieb, Manager at The Sports Centre in the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza said customers have already complained about the charge.
“There’s been a bit of a push back from customers because they’re questioning why, if it’s a ban, that they have to pay for something and I can understand both sides of it where yes you want them to be more aware that we are moving towards reusable, but to have them pay for something that’s kinda of been banned in the stores or banned for the retailers it’s a bit confusing but we are trying to push them towards reusable,” she admitted.
Meanwhile, Marcian Williams, a sales professional at John Bull located at the plaza, has heard mixed reviews from shoppers. He noted some were unwilling to pay the fee and end up deciding to carry their purchases in their hands.
Mr Williams said: “Some customers are outraged by it and then others are just okay with it. I guess it depends on the position I guess. A lot of people find it unnecessary I guess but it is what it is. It’s nothing that a lot of people can do, so they just pay the 25 cents anyway.”
Other stores like 700 Wines & Spirits were ready for the ban.
Store Clerk D’Arcy Hepburn told The Tribune the store had already replaced plastic bags with brown paper bags, adding the move seemed to be welcomed by consumers.
“Coming in a liquor store, some people prefer like the brown bags rather than plastic because it’s easier I guess and in my sense it keeps most of their beers cool.
“So, from what I’ve experienced, plastic bags they’re black, but like the discreteness of it, but there’s no issues or complaints about it so far,” he explained.
One shopper, Leroy Grant, strongly opposed the fee and felt the bags should be offered to consumers without charge.
“If the bag cost $4 and I need two of them that’s $8 that I don’t have,” Mr Grant argued.
“It’s no value to me to spend $8 for two bags to put my groceries in. I go home when my wife comes home, we’ll decide what we’re going to do about groceries. We’re not buying any bags.”
On the other hand, others like Verdell Fox saw the benefits of the ban for the environment: “I really don’t have a problem you know with it..if it’s going to affect the waters and everything like that. We have to eat the fish, and the conch, and everything like that. So, I think it’s all in good standing.”
Stores with single use plastics have until June 30, 2020 to deplete their stock during the six-months transition period.
AML Food Limited stores (Solomon’s Fresh Market, Solomon’s and Cost Right) do not have plastic bags available for customers.
Yet, Ms Gottlieb revealed The Sports Center was not sure what the company will do with the plastic bags they are unable to get rid of.
“Well as you know we’re quite a large store with three stores, actually we have five stores combined including our HeatWave stores,” the store manager informed.
“So, we have had thousands – hundreds of thousands of bags brought in to try to use those bags before the ban (which) was virtually impossible. So, we’re still stuck with hundreds of thousands of bags that we have in our warehouse,” she said.