South Africa’s love-hate relationship with single-use plastic has come under the spotlight in a new study highlighting the environmental, social and economic impacts of carrier bags.
The study, conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Stellenbosch and funded by the Department of Science and Innovation, has revealed that reusable plastic bags are the best option for the country as they have a substantially lower environmental impact compared to single-use bags – but only if consumers reuse them.
The findings come at a time when talk of plastic bag bans is muted as single-use plastic has become associated with the fight against Sars-CoV-2. Before Covid-19, plastic bags and single-use plastic were increasingly outlawed at restaurants, retail stores and trendy markets – and even in entire regions and countries.
Rethinking the bag
Some regulators have prohibited reusable bags due to concerns that they might harbour Sars-CoV-2. Retailers insist that customers use only store-provided bags and environmentalists are sounding alarm about how the increased use of personal protective equipment and face masks will contribute to global pollution. Read more…