Vodacom on Tuesday, 9 April, announced that it will no longer be issuing plastic bags to customers at its stores, replacing them with brown paper bags.
“We are aware of the popularity of plastics mainly because plastic is affordable and lasts longer. However, it is this very characteristic that makes plastics persistent pollutants in the environment. While plastics are useful in our daily activities and seem impossible to live without, plastics have a significant impact on environmental pollution, wildlife deaths, human health hazards and other detrimental impacts,” said chief officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs Takalani Netshitenzhe.
“We have chosen a paper bag because it is less harmful to the environment as compared to plastic. We’ve also removed single-use plastics at our Midrand offices, which include plastic straws and plastic stirrers, amongst others, in our buildings.”
In addition to Vodacom’s phasing out of plastic bags, Netshitenzhe said that Vodacom is also looking at innovative ways to help reduce electronic waste in its operations. Last year, Vodacom reused more than 180 tonnes of network equipment and rejuvenated more than 74 tonnes of batteries. At its head office, Vodacom has reduced 38 tonnes of waste sent to landfill through a baling operation and has also contracted a company that converts food waste from canteens into compost. In 2018, 34 tonnes of waste from canteens was turned into compost used to fertilise the gardens at the Vodacom Midrand campus.