Emirates Hypermarket Shoppers Embrace Reusable Bags

Emirates Hypermarket Shoppers Embrace Reusable Bags

Géant Encourages Reusable Bags | Plastic Bag Ban Report
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, July 15, 2012 (ENS) - French hypermarket chain Géant and its supermarket subsidiary, Le Marché, have partnered with Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF volunteers in a "No Plastic Bag" campaign that is slashing plastic bag use and raising money for conservation.

Géant/Le Marché is encouraging its customers to switch to reusable bags at its store in the Ibn Battuta mall, the world’s largest themed shopping mall, designed to celebrate Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta.

EWS-WWF volunteers distribute re-usable bags and informative leaflets on the campaign in the mall to raise awareness about the negative environmental impacts of plastic bags.

To encourage use of the re-usable bags, Géant/Le Marché asks customers to borrow a plastic bag for a deposit of 25 fils (US$0.07). When the bag is returned, the deposit is refunded to the customer.

For those who choose to recycle their bags elsewhere, Géant/Le Marché donates the deposit to EWS-WWF.

"No Plastic" Initiative
The environmental group uses the money to tackle climate change and preserve biodiversity with initiatives such as its Gulf Marine Turtle Conservation Project.

This year, the No Plastic Bag initiative has helped raise Dhs200,000 (US$54,458) in support of environmental conservation in the United Arab Emirates.

Géant/Le Marché made this donation at a ceremony today at its hypermarket in Ibn Battuta mall attended by company and store executives and representatives of EWS-WWF.

At the ceremony Ranjith Punja, merchandise manager, Géant Hypermarket, said, "In the UAE, we started this 'No Plastic' initiative in recognition of our social and environmental conservation responsibilities. In doing so, we are
also contributing to the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Water towards a UAE that is free of plastic bags."

"Today, we can look back with immense pride at the fact that a unique local retail initiative that we pioneered four years ago continues to encourage tens of thousands of shoppers to contribute their mite towards environmental conservation," Punja said.

Géant/Le Marché estimates that the 'No Plastic Bag' campaign has helped save an average one ton of plastic bags every month, resulting in a reduction of plastic bag consumption by 24 percent this year.

Plastic bags are considered a hazard to the wildlife that inhabit the seas and deserts of the United Arab Emirates. When animals mistake plastic bags for food, they can die choking on the bags.

Ida Tillisch, acting director general of EWS-WWF said, "We are grateful to Géant/Le Marché, for taking the initiative to reduce the amount of plastic bags that could harm our natural environment and wildlife. Géant/Le Marché is demonstrating the important role that the private sector can play in saving the environment."

The Emirates Wildlife Society is a national environmental nongovernmental organization, established under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi.

Eco Partners
EWS works in association with the global conservation organization WWF to conserve the natural heritage of the UAE and to promote sustainable lifestyles.

Géant, owned by the Group Casino, has over 115 hypermarkets, including outlets in Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait. These superstores combine a supermarket and a department store under one roof. Le Marché is a supermarket brand and a subsidiary of Géant Hypermarket.

Both partners are interested in continuing the No Plastic Bag campaign.

Punja said, "We at Géant, and Le Marché are keen to further enhance our alliance with EWS-WWF to help preserve the rich heritage and the diverse ecological, as well as marine life that the UAE is bestowed with. Together, we have proven that we can help make a difference."

For EWS-WWF Tillisch said, "We are keen to continue working with dedicated and committed partners, to ensure a healthy planet for future generations."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.

PHOTO: Géant/Le Marché and EWS-WWF executives with the check for Dhs200,000 from the No Plastic Bags campaign, July 15, 2012 (Photo courtesy Géant/Le Marché)