THE $10 price of the re-usable bag being sold by Massy Stores to replace disposable plastic bags, so as to save the environment, is the same as the global price of the bag, assured Massy CEO Derek Winford. “We price our bags on what is happening internationally, what these bags sell for in any international market. Convert it and you’ll see it’s ten bucks.”
Newsday questioned him as he led a distribution of free re-usable bags at Massy’s Maraval branch on Tuesday, World Environment Day, where he personally handed out bags to passing motorists.
Asked if the one-day bag give-away was just a publicity stunt, he declared, “No. This is the real deal.”
Will Massy profiteer from the new 50 cent charge on disposable bags, currently given away free? Winford replied, “The 50 cent charge is not profiteering. It’s like a tax. Internationally where this has been legislated, a 50 cent charge inhibits people from using plastic. It’s a deterrent.”
Newsday asked what will happen to the profits from the sale of the 50 cent bags? Winford replied, “Any accruals, all proceeds to charity.” Asked if Massy had ever set up a special environmental fund into which to place those proceeds, he said Massy has paid millions of dollars into the Government’s Green Fund, and donates to many charities.
Newsday asked how Massy is otherwise curbing waste generated by products they sell. Winford said Massy is trying to reduce the amount of packaging used in its goods, saying the fresh produce section has many items being sold loose.
Asked about styrotex, just banned in Guyana, he said Massy is starting to phase it out especially in its branches in those Caribbean countries like St Lucia and Antigua that are now banning it.
Newsday asked if the shoppers would now be forced to buy black garbage bags to replace their hitherto free disposable bags from Massy. He said they still have the option to buy the disposable bags for 50 cents, even as he said that charge is meant as a deterrent to people’s unnecessary use of those bags.
Asked if each bottled beverage sold should include a redeemable deposit-charge, he said pointed to the Beverage Container Bill. Told that bill has been stalled for years, Winford said he hoped all of Massy’s environment activity including Tuesday’s accompanying glass-bottle recycling drive by Carib Beer would be an impetus to the Government to get the bill going.
Globally, concern is that plastic bags and bottles and styrotex containers physically choke marine species such as turtles, as such waste lingers in the sea for decades before decomposing.