By Bedah Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua)
-- Supermarkets and other
retail outlets in Kenya are among the biggest
beneficiaries of a ban on plastic bags, which took
effect on Monday.
which are in their hundreds in the East African nation,
are currently selling to their customers the
alternatives to plastic bags that include canvas bags
creating a new revenue stream.
ban, the shops would pack the goods bought by shoppers
in plastic bags of various sizes for free.
But the new
era has come with lots of blessing, with each outlet
selling the shopping bags from 0.05 U.S. dollars for the
light bags to 0.50 dollars for the heavy canvas bags.
hundreds of customers thronging into the retail outlets
every day, the canvas bags are becoming a cash cow for
providing customers with eco-reusable bags for 0.05
dollars for small bags and 0.10 dollars for large bags.
But we encourage you to come with your kiondos and
baskets. Feel free to return with your reusable bags,”
Tuskys, one of the biggest supermarket in Kenya informed
customers via SMS on Monday.
message was pasted at the entrance of all its branches
across the capital Nairobi and other parts of the
A visit to
three branches of the retail outlet in Nairobi, however,
indicated that most of their customers were not bringing
along reusable bags. Instead, they were shopping and
buying the reusable bags as the supermarket made a
scenario was replicated at branches of Naivas
supermarkets where customers were encouraged to come
with their shopping bags but a majority bought the
recycled bags from the outlet.
(Xinhua) -- A hawker sells
bio-degradable bags in the streets of Nairobi,
Aug. 28, 2017. Kenya’s landmark plastic ban that
took effect on Monday received cautious welcome
from retailers who expressed concern over its
impact on their businesses despite its much
touted environmental benefits.
At a branch
of Nakumatt supermarket, their larger branded canvas
bags were going for up to 0.50 dollars, an indication of
how lucrative the business was.
customers were similarly asked to bring along their
shopping bags, many of them shopped and paid for the
“I have no
choice but to buy the canvas bags,” said Moses Mutua, a
shopper at a branch of Tuskys supermarket along Moi
“If you tell
men to bring along their shopping bags, that is
practically impossible because I cannot walk around with
it in my coat pocket waiting to shop. For women it is
easier because they would carry them in their bags.”
several items that filled two canvas bags spending 0.20
dollars on the bags, money that initially he would have
saved if plastic bags were still in use.
“Supermarkets should consider giving to customers these
shopping bags for free because I do not believe if their
cost is higher than that of plastic bags. It seems like
they are taking advantage of the new regime to make
money,” he said.
feel the pinch, retailers noted the canvas bags would
help them save costs that arose from provision of
Retail Trade Association of Kenya, the budget on plastic
bags constituted up to 2 percent of retailers cost
bases, therefore, the elimination of the expenditure
results into huge savings for that outlets some that
have annual turnover of up to 583 million dollars.
supermarkets cash in, shoppers talked to, however, said
they would work to eliminate the extra charges by
carrying their own bags to retail outlets.
shopping, which I do every day because I get all my
shopping including groceries from the supermarket. I
cannot be buying the bags every time I go there which
would be expensive. I would now have to carry my own
every time I go shopping,” said Susan Muhanga, an
Environmental organizations have praised the ban on
plastic bags which has largely been complied with by
Greenbelt Movement, which has been at the forefront of
protecting Kenya’s environment, said it supports the ban
because it is a noble cause that guarantees a cleaner,
healthier environment to future generations.
Africa welcomes the decision by the Kenyan government to
implement the plastic bags ban. This is a beacon of hope
in fostering an environmentally conscious society and is
a clear message that Kenya is ready to join other
African countries in taking bold steps on environmental
issues that are key to ensuring a sustainable future,”
said Njeri Kabeberi, the executive director.
the National Environment Authority sent out inspectors
to ensure the public complies with the ban but said its
focus would be on companies.
up to 24 million plastic bags monthly, with half ending
up in the environment due to poor disposal.
suspend operations over plastic ban
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s umbrella body of
industrialists said Tuesday some firms have been forced
to suspend their manufacturing and delivery operations
following the recent ban on plastics by the government.
Association of Manufacturers (KAM) said the plastic bag
makers had wound up operations while some have relieved
nearly thousands of workers of their duties.
received formal notification from plastic bag
manufacturers of industrial and non-industrial packaging
that with effect from Aug. 28 they have temporarily
suspended their manufacturing and delivery operations
following the recent ban on plastics,” KAM said in a
statement issued in Nairobi.
said the reasons for the suspension are to enable them
to get clarifications on the following areas in order to
continue their operations.
manufacturers are seeking clearing letters from the
National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for
both manufacturers and their users.
also seeking clearance on the meaning of extended
producer/user responsibility and or effective
manufacturer and user take back schemes for
manufacturers and customers.
African nation in March imposed a ban on the
manufacture, use and importation of plastic bags for
commercial and household packaging effective Aug. 28.
The ban -
the third attempt in a decade - has seen Kenya join
other environmentally conscious nations in curbing the
use of plastics.
has been opposed to the ban, claimed that more firms had
closed their operations and that the shutdowns would
cause 60,000 job losses.
talking of 60,000 direct jobs...then there are indirect
jobs the traders and the people they employ,
transporters and others along the value chain,” said KAM.
government has since dismissed the 60,000 job losses
figure as an “exaggeration.”
KAM, some of the most important household products
adversely affected include salt and maize flour.
“Distribution and supply of fertiliser will also be
disrupted because the flat plastic liners used in their
packaging are affected by the ban,” KAM said.
industrialists said Kenya stands to lose export revenue
because there is currently uncertainty about the
manufacture of plastic flat bags used for packaging of,
flowers, fish, tea and EPZ export.
“Manufacturers who manufacture for export are also
affected and this will impact on export revenues,” it
said. The manufacturers were given six months to clear
their stock but they have argued that the time was not
NEMA, the environment watchdog has entered into an
arrangement with supermarkets for the collection and
recycling of plastic bags.
NEMA’s chief enforcement officer, said recyclers have
been asked to collect the bags from supermarkets.
contracted recyclers and licensed them so the work can
begin as soon as they declare the types of plastic bags
they can handle. We ask individuals with plastic bags to
take them to the nearest supermarket,” he said on
the ban on plastic bags does not affect flat bags used
in industrial packaging. Director general Geoffrey
Wahungu said on Friday that industries will be allowed
to use the bags for primary packaging.