Plastic bag charge starts today

Starting today, supermarkets will
be implementing a new 5 cent charge for plastic bags as part of the Cayman
BECOME campaign to encourage the Cayman Islands public to bring their own
reusable bags when they shop.

To prepare for the big day,
cashiers and baggers have received training from the Cayman BECOME education
and training committee.

“We are aiming to adapt the
interaction between cashier and customer for when the charge is introduced,”
said Senior Sustainable Development Officer at the Department of Environment
Joni Kirkconnell, one of the trainers.

She said cashiers are now being
urged to ask customers directly if they have their own bags with them and if
not they will ask whether the customer needs a bag and wishes to purchase a
reusable bag, or purchase plastic bags. “This should not only make people think
about bringing their own bags in the future, but it will also make cashiers
more aware of how many plastic bags they are providing, and customers more
aware of how many plastic bags they are using,” said Ms Kirkconnell.

“We expect people will not want to
pay for more plastic bags than they have to.”

Daphine Watson, a trainer with the
Department of Tourism’s PRIDE program who managed the Cayman BECOME training
and developed the training presentation said the aim was to ease the transition
as far as possible.

‘The cashiers are really on the
front line of the campaign, as they will have the most contact with customers,
who will no doubt have a lot of questions once the charge is introduced,” she
said.

“We want to prepare them as much as
we can so that this change is manageable for all concerned. The Department of
Tourism is very pleased to be able to sponsor this effort, through utilising
the training skills and experience we have developed in the PRIDE program to
assist in this important element of the campaign.”

Raquel Solomon, Training Manager at
Fosters Food Fair said cashiers were very enthusiastic about the training as customers
have been very curious, having heard about the changes.

“The Cayman BECOME campaign was
widely accepted by all the cashiers because of the obvious benefits to the
environment that we all enjoy,” said Ms Solomon.

“Many cashiers feel much better now
that they know some facts about the program and why it is being done. They
report that many customers appreciate the initiative and have already begun to
use reusable bags instead of plastic. The customers who are most concerned
about the planned changes are those that do not seem to be aware of the
benefits of the Cayman BECOME campaign. We encourage customers who have
questions to just ask, so that we can all do our bit to truly go plastic free.”

Cayman BECOME volunteers will be on
hand at the Island’s supermarkets this coming Saturday handing out free
reusable shopping bags to customers. The hand-washable bags are made of 50% recycled
plastic bottles and are printed using environmentally responsible soy-based
inks.

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